Organic grower and box scheme Riverford has swapped plastic nets for a compostable alternative made from beech tree pulp.
Developed by Austrian packaging company VPZ Verpackungszentrum, the new nets are being used on Riverford’s sprouts, citrus and onions. They are made using wood surplus from the forestry industry where trees in certified sustainable forests are thinned out to create more space and light. The wood is then chipped and broken down further into pulp, spun into a string-like material, before being knitted together into a net tube.
Riverford packaging technologist Robyn Copley-Wilkins said: “As much as people might wish that we could do without packaging entirely, it plays a huge part in ensuring product quality and enabling distribution through our whole supply chain.
“A net made from wood sounds strange, but actually works beautifully, and is very environmentally friendly.'
Riverford said it is currently reviewing all existing packaging and improving its sustainability where possible.