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Bioplastic Container Cropping Systems

Bioplastic Container Cropping Systems: Helping the Green Industry Go Green

Bioplastic pots with seedlings.

Bioplastic pots with seedlings (Photo credit: Iowa State University).

Project Goals

Our goal is to create biocontainer materials that are sturdy enough to hold up to nursery production, yet will decompose when installed with the plant in the ground or in a compost pile.

Several different container types have been tested at several locations. Nevada's arid conditions are an important laboratory for this multistate study. In Nevada, project oversight is provided by Dr. Heidi Kratsch, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.

Conventional plastic plant pots are made from petroleum, not biodegradable and not easily recycled. We are collaborating with Iowa State University and Ohio State University to test a variety of bioplastic and biocomposite plant containers for their rate of decomposition in the ground, and how well plants grow when planted with their pots. Biorenewable bioplastic container technology will reduce the number of nursery pots that end up in landfills and may improve plant and soil health.

Plastic pots piled in landfill.

Conventional plastic pots are not easily recycled in some areas and become a problem in the waste stream (Photo credit: Iowa State University).