“Every year 3,500 tons of plastic waste is discarded by Royal FloraHolland. If we can make this waste stream circular, a major sustainability issue will be solved."
Wendy den Boer from the Van der Salm brothers, Jaap Buis from Circular, Ronald Coolsen from Crea print group, Herman Ribberink from Circular, and Ruud Drost from gebroeders van der Salm.
In a nutshell, that is the idea behind the new company Circular, that was established in 2015. The initiators – printing office Crea Print Group, Jaap Buis of Fresco Flowers and Kras Recycling - are committed to the collection and 100% reprocessing of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) into sustainable end products. The plastic residual stream from the auction is being used as one of the sources, a stream that is processed exclusively by Kras Recycling. In addition, Circular develops new extrusion techniques & injection molding techniques.
The new Van der Salm labels.
"Over the last two years, we have been busy with inventing possibilities," says Jaap Buis. “From a practical point of view, almost everything can be made from the residual flow, from labels, tray belts and pot covers to new reusable super light pallets and we are working on the development of a foldable reusable transport box for flowers. Ideas are fun, but in order to proceed to production, always some hurdles must be taken. However, thanks to a new collaboration with Gebr. Van der Salm we can take a new step today."
How the first labels get on the pots is closely watched.
Gebr. Van der Salm is a garden plant grower from Boskoop, The Netherlands, and the first to purchase all their labels, around 40 million pieces per year, entirely from recycled plastic ‘waste’ from FloraHolland. "We want to make our company more sustainable and Crea Green offered a good solution for that," says grower Ruud Drost. “From now on our labels consist entirely of old pots, foils and labels from other growers. For a large part of the plastic material, we have thereby created a closed cycle, so that no virgin material enters the sector anymore, but we also keep our ‘rubbish’ inside. Everything within the ISO and MPS standards and the associated recycle quality marks. These recycled labels can also be fused onto our grow pots without any problems."
Apart from the fact that no more 'virgin plastic' is used for the labels, nothing else changes in the daily work of Gebr. Van der Salm. This also applies to the printing office of Crea Print Group, which has 40 years of experience in printing for floriculture. Director Ronald P. Coolsen. “It didn't happen entirely naturally, but we can now deliver our products, without significant changes in the process, at the same cost. There are no additional costs for our customers, and so we offer them an opportunity to become more sustainable without having to make additional investments."
It will not be the solution for everything, but it is certainly a step in the right direction. Of course, other biological materials such as CKB cardboard and paper with a PLE coating are also offered, but this might promote logging. "If you", Jaap concludes, "can fully reuse existing plastic without it being contaminating in any way, and also without compromising on quality, then this is one of the most sustainable applications."
"These 100% recycled labels just arrived on time. The sustainability transformation within the floriculture industry is in full swing and we thank pioneer Ruud Drost from nursery Van der Salm and Crea Green for taking the initiative."
For more information about Circular Plastics click here.
Crea print group
Ronald P. Coolsen