On trend: packaging made from paper instead of plastic


Demand for the environmentally friendly use of materials is steadily increasing. As a result, more and more companies are using paper and cardboard packaging that can be disposed of and recycled like waste paper. This also applies to transport packaging, as shown by examples from Royal FloraHolland, Stolk Flora and Modiform.

Stolk markets phalaenopsis without plastic

Every plant from the Dutch phalaenopsis grower Stolk Flora, available under the name of Your Natural Orchid, will be marketed by the company in a paper tray wrapper. This will put an immediate end to the use of plastic wrap to package these plants, says grower Jan Stolk.

“Plants are almost always presented without a wrapper in florists and in garden centres. The plastic wrappers are disposed of as soon as the plants have been delivered, which is a huge waste. Our new tray wrapper made from paper makes this a thing of the past. We can offer optimum transport protection, even with minimal packaging.”

The paper wrapper completely envelops the tray and can be combined with the four-plant tray made from cardboard, or with the “EcoExpert” tray made from pulp and used for six or ten plants.

Paper trays save tonnes of plastic waste

Instead of using plastic wrappers, Stolk Flora now uses recyclable paper. It has extrapolated its calculations to suggest that this novel packaging will save millions of wrappers and over 58 tonnes of plastic waste annually.

Combined with the use of cardboard “EcoExpert” trays, this packaging is completely plastic-free, saving approximately 111 tonnes of plastic.

Completely biodegradable: “EcoExpert” by Modiform

Modiform designs and manufactures seedling, transportation and packaging systems, and continues to create horticultural packaging and transportation products that are sustainable and environmentally friendly. Modiform developed its “EcoExpert” line after extensive research. The trays in this series are made from paper fibre instead of plastic.

The paper is 100% recovered from the production of cardboard boxes. This means that “EcoExpert” products can be easily recycled via the normal recycling (waste paper) system for households or retailers. They are also compostable and will be completely broken down within one year.

Recycling pots are created in a fully automated process

Modiform’s “EcoExpert” pots and pallets are made from cardboard waste that has been collected. In a hydro-pulper, the fibres are dissolved to form a pulp. The entire process is fully automated.

The moulds for the pots and pallets are dipped into the pulp container, and the pulp is sucked onto the moulds through tiny vacuum holes. A rubber press then squeezes the pulp.

Once moulded, the pulp products have microscopic holes. As a result, Modiform uses a natural wax additive in the cardboard mix to clog up those little holes and create a waterproof barrier. This natural wax is fully biodegradable and can also be recycled with all other cardboard materials using standard recycling systems.

Closed recycling system for plastic products, too

Even for plastic products, Modiform believes that a closed recycling system is the most environmentally friendly and sustainable way to handle plastic materials. As often as possible, the company makes agreements with its customers to bring the products back to Modiform so that they can be re-processed into raw material for the manufacturing of additional products.

Modiform Denmark gives an example of how well this works: there, the company collaborates with a supermarket chain to take back all the trays from every branch in the entire country, and recycles them. “However, this works only with PS (polystyrene) trays because they can be recycled endlessly,” explains Gerd Steverding, sales manager for Germany. “This is in contrast to PET, which is not recycled after it has been used in horticulture.”

Royal FloraHolland promotes trays made from paper fibres

The auctioneers Royal FloraHolland have also stated their desire to create a marketplace without creating refuse or wasting resources, with as many raw materials being reused as possible. Royal FloraHolland sees paper fibre trays as being an alternative to the plant trays used today, and has introduced the packaging code Fc225 for them. Customers can use this packaging code for their transactions.

The Fc225 paper fibre tray measures 28 x 40 centimetres (corresponding to standard pack 200) and is made from pressed paper fibres with a natural water-resistant coating. It is easily recyclable in the existing refuse system, like cardboard and paper.