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Frans Bunnik, Bunnik Plants:

“The tighter things become, the more creative greenhouse horticulture becomes”

Water is one of the most frequently discussed topics in contemporary greenhouse horticulture. The imminent new directives regarding emissions and water treatment are forcing growers to take action. In addition, the availability of good irrigation water is also an issue that requires attention in the longer term. Potted plant specialists Bunnik Plants from Bleiswijk recognized these developments at an early stage and took appropriate measures: from joint water treatment with other local growers to the collection and underground storage of rain water.

Accurate watering forms the basis of water management at Bunnik Plants. "For this purpose, we obviously have modern tools at our disposal, which are controlled by the Connext climate computer," says co-owner Frans Bunnik. In this automated system, the return water is measured and analyzed, artificial fertilizer is added or mixed in and the water dosage is regulated carefully. This results in a closed circuit.

"In today's new world, recirculation is a must," asserts Bunnik. For this reason, his company is one of the driving forces behind the AquaReUse project in Bleiswijk. This joint venture between horticulture companies, municipalities and researchers in the field involves collecting, treating and then reusing the wastewater from 100 hectares of greenhouse horticulture. Discharging water is thus a thing of the past. "We have been working on ways of reusing our wastewater for a few years now. As entrepreneurs, we've picked up the gauntlet; things are now starting to go well." The project is not motivated solely by economics, but also by social considerations. "In every area, we are endeavoring to work towards a cleaner sector by innovating and by leading the way, starting with our own business."

Bunnik therefore sees the new Discharge Bylaw as a logical and inevitable development, even if he does think there are some question marks about its implementation.

"In greenhouse horticulture, we work with rain water. However, there is no clear picture of all the substances that are falling out of the sky with the rain water. This has an effect on the measurements in our company, even though some of these substances do not originate from us in any way. That's not fair."

On the other hand, Bunnik believes that the sector also needs to take its share of the responsibility. "We cannot blame anyone else and we need to work together as a sector on solutions. The new rules in the area of water and emissions are our problem." Frans Bunnik is nonetheless confident that there will be a positive outcome. "Past experiences teach us that the tighter the situation gets for greenhouse horticulture, the more creative we become as a sector."

Watch the video featuring Frans Bunnik talking about water management:

For more information:
Zijlweg 3
2678 LC De Lier
T: +31 (0)174 522 600
F: +31 (0)174 522 700
[email protected]
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