A Greener Future - With Minimal Plastic!
This entry was posted on 1st March 2018.
Here at Bio-D, we’re committed to seeking sustainable, planet-friendly means of getting our products into customers’ hands. We’re extremely proud to have launched our new packaging, made from 100% recycled materials, earlier this year, and we’re thrilled by the response we’ve had to the new bottles to date.
The issues of plastics waste and recycling are therefore VERY high on our agenda.
As we launched our new packaging, news broke of another big green story that is set to have a very positive impact on the area that Bio-D calls home (Hull, East Yorkshire). We were excited to hear about the Northern Forest, which will see 50 million trees planted from Liverpool to our home city. 50 MILLION TREES!
As a company, we look to minimise plastic usage wherever we can, and so we were interested to hear about how the organisations planning the Northern Forest are doing the same. Can 50 MILLION new trees be planted and maintained without relying on plastics to protect them?
Stephen Robinson is partnership manager for HEYwoods, an organisation which aims to improve our local landscapes, and is involved in the creation of the Northern Forest. He explained how the Forest might be created with minimal reliance on plastic.
“The announcement earlier this year about the new 50 million tree Northern Forest is very good news for our area. More trees, woods and forests will create a better environment for us all, bringing some obvious benefits: improving air quality and connecting people with nature, helping to reduce flood risk, helping to improve health and wellbeing and boosting local economies.
Are there any environmental downsides? Plastic products are usually essential to the successful establishment of new woodlands – with all of the focus lately on reducing plastic use, one may wonder if there is any way around this?
Most young trees planted are protected by plastic spiral shelters or tree guards. Using these shelters and guards is important to help protect young trees from damage by browsing animals, for example deer, rabbits and hares. Shelters and guards can also create an internal microclimate which can help to promote rapid growth of young trees. The value of protecting young trees is greatest during the first five years after they are planted. After this time, the shelters and guards should be removed to allow each tree to continue to grow in its natural environment. If every tree has its own protection, this often results in large amounts of waste plastic.
Many of these products are made from recycled plastics which are, in turn, recyclable themselves. However, some plastic products can only be recycled by certain specialists and often tree shelters and guards fall into the category. If this is the case, removing, transporting and disposing of them can become a major issue.
The good news is that there are some shelters and guards now available that are made of biodegradable forms of plastic, designed to fall apart once their useful life has ended, and therefore eliminating the need to remove waste from the site. Many are made of photodegradable PVC where contact with sunlight perpetrates the degradation process. The next generation of tree shelters and guards being developed are seeking to increase sustainability and improve biodegradability even further; plastic will degrade as soon as its use has ended. These new products will help to reduce environmental impact and minimise the amount of waste going to landfill.
The upshot is that there can be millions of trees planted, with all of the benefits that brings, and it needn’t result in an increase in plastic products entering the waste stream.”
Thanks Stephen! So there you have it - how 50 million trees can be planted without the need for plastics waste.