Planting roots for bioplastics

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Green Dot Bioplastics LLC Green Dot Bioplastics LLC has launched a biodegradable biocomposite for horticultural applications.

Spring might seem far away for many parts of the U.S., but Green Dot Bioplastics already is thinking about gardens and greenhouses.

The bioplastics maker has developed a new biodegradable biocomposite for horticultural applications made from reclaimed bio-based feedstocks. Officials with Cottonwood Falls, Kan.-based Green Dot are saying that the new material will allow greenhouses and gardeners to lessen the environmental impact of conventional plastic pots.

The new biocomposite is part of Green Dot’s Terratek product line and is made from 80 percent reclaimed and 80 percent biobased material. Reclaimed plant fibers “serve as a visual reminder that this planter will safely return to nature once its useful life has ended,” officials said in a Jan. 13 news release. Biodegradation rates will vary according to environment and part size, they added.

Using biodegradable plantable pots made with the new material can reduce greenhouse water consumption by as much as 600 percent, officials said. Current compostable planters are most often made from paper, peat or cardboard. These absorbent materials allow water to quickly evaporate from potting soil, requiring growers to water plants more often. The new biocomposite doesn’t absorb water, allowing moisture to be retained in the potting soil.

Plantable pots made with the new material also provide advantages for retailers, officials added. The biocomposite plastic is more durable and has a longer shelf life compared to traditional biodegradable pots, they said. The plastic also can be easily colored to enhance product differentiation.

The new material “offers unique functional and aesthetic attributes, with a lighter environmental footprint compared to horticulture containers currently in use,” Green Dot CEO Mark Remmert said in the release.

Remmert founded Green Dot in 2011 after retiring from Dow Chemical Co. and its Styron spinoff after a 30-year career. In 2013, Green Dot acquired the bioplastics business of MGP Ingredients Inc., including a bioplastics plant in Onaga, Kan.