We are always on the lookout for alternatives. Visit our delivery process page to see how we handle our bulbs once they are in the warehouse. Here are a few of the choices we make with our packaging to ensure we’re doing our bit.
Paper bags, although easier to recycle, are an issue because the commercial supply of the paper bags is not recycled paper, although it does come from sustainable forests.
We don’t believe this is the correct way to handle the issue, particularly as we have seen supply chains disrupted in recent years. It is a clear sign that we are exhausting our planet’s supplies.
Secondly, paper bags cost between 20-50p per bag, with prices continuing to climb, bringing additional costs to the price of each unit. Finally, paper bags don’t allow us to pack the bulbs and keep an eye on quality.
The nets we use allow the bulbs to breathe. If the bulbs are in a paper bag for 3 months (between August and November) they will rot, but will not be visible in the paper bag. Air flow is essential, especially in damp autumn weather. We go to great lengths to supply healthy bulbs through our process of quality control.
We do, however, use paper bags for bulbs that can tolerate a short period within the bags. These are bulbs that are of a unique shape and need to be counted by hand, for example shooting autumn flowering crocus, eremurus, dahlias and many more.
Biodegradable bags are another option that some companies use. However, the only suitable plastic in this for this application is potato starch. Many degradable plastics allow the plastic bag to break down but this means the plastic still exists and goes into the soil without eradicating it. Some degradable bags require special processing that is not available to a consumer.
To use potato starch bags would mean getting our products packaged by a third party. The amount required for a company to pack our bulbs exceeds the packaging we require. For example, we only pack up to 80 bags per one variety of bulbs and we keep the rest of the bulbs loose for larger orders.
It would mean that we have to package more bulbs in smaller quantities, leading to the use of a lot more packaging. Large quantities of 250 bulbs or more are counted by machine into much larger bags that eliminate the use of many smaller bags. 50% of our business is wholesale and we use significantly less plastic with larger orders. 25kg nets of daffodils are a great example. In each bag you will get 500 bulbs in one net. To pre pack these would require 100 packs.
Once in the biodegradable bags we wouldn’t be able to check the quality of the bulbs or reseal packets which would result in more wastage. We are proud that we keep everything in house. Ultimately, we are much less wasteful by being able to regulate everything that goes out of the warehouse. Comparatively, we sell our units in larger quantities which again helps reduce packaging requirements.
The nets we use are from recycled plastic and can be recycled repeatedly. Polypropylene nets are widely recycled and relatively simple to process compared to some of the biodegradable plastics on the market.
Our Bulbs, Facilities and Recycling
As a horticultural company we are very conscious of our impact on the environment. Bulbs do not use neonicotinoids which have been proven to be harmful to pollenating insects. All of our products have a plant passport and are given a Phytosanitary Certificate at the point of entry into the country. This means that they are carefully checked for disease and are fully traceable back to the grower. We are keenly observant and we only provide products that will not impact on ecology.
Behind the scenes we have a large area of solar panels on our roof, we have stopped the production of wasteful print catalogues and we have a recycling scheme within the warehouse. We are open to conversations on our methods and to receive advice on how we can work towards other waste-free solutions.