Enterprise Europe Network - Nederland

TRNL20220704001 – Dutch company in the flower industry is looking for fully recycled and recyclable packaging

The company is turning the flower industry on its head – for the better. How? By disrupting the traditional supply chain. They create seasonal collections using unusual stems to deliver unique flower arrangements. They always use field-fresh high-quality flowers straight from the grower and deliver to their customers through a high-tech and highly creative platform. How can the Dutch company deliver its products with fully recycled and recyclable packaging?

Full description

The company is removing all single-use plastics from their operations and are selecting materials with the lowest possible Life Cycle Assessment scores. As of last year, the changes they have made will save 60,784kg of plastic and polyester from going to landfill.

Here are all the changes they have made:

  • Paper wraps instead of cellophane

  • Paper flower food sachets instead of plastic

  • Recyclable plastic plant bags

  • Recycled paper

  • Ribbons made from recycled bottles

  • Recyclable flower nets

  • Environmentally friendly inks

  • Even the offer cards they pop in magazines and other companies’ boxes are made from recycled paper and environmentally friendly inks!

However, at this point they still use plastic in some forms: either for the packaging of certain flower feed, as bubble wrap around vases and as nets around certain flowers. They would like to eliminate these plastics altogether, through alternative materials that are more universally recycled (in every municipality), and that have a lower environmental impact (either by selecting an alternative that is biodegradable or otherwise), without impacting quality.

The biggest two challenges are:
1. Bubble wrap around vases: they currently ship most of their vases with shredded cardboard to reduce reliance on plastic. Since they are shipping a variety of vase sizes and shapes, they cannot do this for all their vases. They are currently able to use the shredded cardboard solution for their standard assortment vases which are our S/M/L glass vases, S/M/L ceramic vases, all Atelier glass vases and their ceramic Mono vases. However, incorporating and fitting a new vase in the already existing cardboard solution is a major challenge. Therefore, they are keen to learn more about what is possible here, without increasing the risk of breakage and without overly increasing stock management complexity by expanding their packaging assortment.

2. Certain flowers (particularly roses, alstroemeria, sunflowers & lisianthus) are transported with nets around them, to protect the petals. This is done with HDPE netting that is stretchy, which is recyclable but can be complicated to do so in some locations. They are interested in lower impact materials, though the product needs to be equally flexible (to fit around the flower), withstand moisture, and cannot interact with the colours (colour bleeding).

This technology request is part of an innovation challenge and is published on an open innovation platform from 06/06/2022 and will close on 10/07/2022. If an organization does express interest in collaboration with this company before closing date, it will be guided through this open innovation platform and will be introduced to its moderator and the company’s experts. Mind that posts on this platform are not confidential.
Next step is that the company will select the SMEs with whom they would like to cooperate in the development of the solution.

Advantages and innovations

  • Work together with an advanced e-commerce scale-up in the UK and EU.

  • Exchange knowledge.

  • A chance of making real impact with regards to sustainability.

Expected role of partner sought:

The company is looking for new ideas to further reduce their impacts in terms of packaging. Any ideas which contribute to one (or more) of the challenges described above are more than welcome! Ideally the solution is ready to use at scale, but they are willing to work together with innovators that are keen to pilot new materials as well.

For more information you can contact:

Christa Pieffers – christa.pieffers@oostnl.nl

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