Saturday, September 13, 2008

Nursery and Greenhouse - Biodegradable Pots From Renewable Materials

With consumers asking about ways to be ecofriendly or "green", nursery and greenhouse growers may want to consider using pots from renewable materials that are biodegradable instead of plastic. Certainly, we have used peat pots in the industry for decades; however, peat is not considered a renewable resource in that it is not being replenished. I saw a presentation on using solids from dairy manure to make pots several years ago. Many other materials are being researched and several will be coming on the market in the near future. The following is a short article on the subject in the current IPM/TPM report from the University of Maryland.

One of the things that several landscape managers mentioned is that customers are asking what are you doing to be more “Green”? Anything made out of petroleum plastic is being looked at in a negative light. Many of the annuals and perennials that are sold in the industry are shipped in plastic pots. Several companies are developing pots made out of materials such as wheat, sugarcane, and corn. The wheat based pots can take temperatures up to 50 °C before they heat shift and look pretty promising. They last about 20 weeks before they start to break down. This would work for crops such as chrysanthemum that are 12 week crops. The wheat based pots are completely compostable in most home compost piles. These food based pots have been about twice as expensive as petroleum based plastic but this is rapidly changing and expect to see more competitive prices in the near future.

Reprinted from the September 12, 2008 edition of the TPM/IPM Weekly Report for Arborists, Landscape Managers & Nursery Managers from the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension

1 comment:

Kurt said...

For seed starting, you can use a newspaper pot maker.