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Our trees in pots from Vibers

Updated: Nov 8, 2021

The time has come: the letterbox trees are now sent in pots made of elephant grass! Our drive is to make the world a greener place. We look for the most environmentally friendly option for everything from plants to packaging and transport. We have therefore worked hard behind the scenes on the development of a new pot. The starting point was that it had to be biobased and compostable. The result: the beauties below, made from biobased PLA with Dutch elephant grass. Read more about how we came to this choice and what to do with it after use.


Of course we already made our pots frombiobased PLA, but the process with 3D printing was not scalable. PLA (polylactic acid) is bioplastic that is both biobased and biodegradable. Injection molding has been the proven method for many years for the series production of 'normal' plastic products. Liquid plastic is injected into a mold under high pressure. But injection molding with biomaterials is a completely different story. Especially when it comes to products with a thin wall, such as our pots. Biopolymers are less fluid, with the risk that the mold will not fill up completely. A broken bottom plate (too high pressure) and many further tests, our partner Bato succeeded in injection molding the perfect biobased pot with a wall thickness of only 0.7 mm. A result we are very proud of!


Vibers

The material from which the pots are made comes from the Dutch company Vibers. It is a combination of residual products from the potato processing industry and elephant grass grown on former wasteland in the Netherlands. Elephant grass, or Miscanthus giganteus, is a versatile plant that is suitable for many more things than biolastics. It has a very low moisture content, which means that it does not need to be dried first and thus saves energy [1]. The grass species also converts CO2 into sugars in a very efficient way [2]. The use of elephant grass as a biofuel therefore leads to large CO2 savings. To illustrate: burning 12 tons of coal produces as much energy as 20 tons of elephant grass, but burning elephant grass releases 95% less CO2 [3].

The plastic dilemma

The reason we have chosen a biobased and degradable material and not a recyclable bioplastic is that we do not want to contribute in any way to the accumulation of plastic in the environment. Less than half of the packaging material is recycled in the Netherlands and only 5% worldwide [4]. Some will be incinerated, but unfortunately far too much plastic ends up in nature, also in the Netherlands. A completely closed plastic cycle is not realistic. A plastic that can be decomposed in the open air will not work either, because then the potty will fall apart at the nursery... What is wisdom?


Degradable, but still in the normal trash?

The Vibers pots are biodegradable, which means they are a food source for micro-organisms and fungi in the right environment. After the biodegradation process has been completed, only natural and harmless substances such as water, CO2 and compost remain. This does not mean that the trees, pot and all, can be put in the ground. Only at high temperature and humidity, such as in an industrial composting installation, the pot will break down within a few months. In nature it takes much longer. If the pot is no longer (re)used, the advice is: dispose of it with the residual waste. Then the waste processor turns it into bioenergy. But if the pot unexpectedly ends up in nature, it will break down much faster than conventional plastic. A comforting thought.


Trees are the future

So much for the story about the new 'coats', but of course it's all about the trees! How nice is it to surprise someone with a tree through the letterbox. The sustainable gift and business gift that the recipient will enjoy for a lifetime. Want to order a tree quickly? Go to Bloompost.nl. For business orders or a free sample please contact us.



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