Biodegradable paper pots for salads and herbs

Plant of frisée salad in a paper pot. Photo: Oksasen puutarha
Metsäbiotalouden tulevaisuuskuvasto / Forest Bioeconomy Future Catalogue

Increasingly more of the potted salad greens and herbs sold in the Lidl shops in Finland will be grown and sold in biodegradable paper pots. By autumn 2020, the share of paper pots for herbs will be 95 percent and for salad greens, over 60 percent.

The first items sold in paper pots were introduced in late April–early May. Lidl has prepared this change for about two years.

Lidl calculates that the change will lead to the replacement of millions of plastic pots per year with paper ones. The rest of the plastic pots used by Lidl for salad greens and herbs are made of biodegradable plastic which can be recycled as plastic.

Thanks to the reform, the annual use of plastics by Lidl in Finland will decrease by over 23 metric tons. Another bonus is that as to the consumer, recycling will be easier, as you no longer need to think about whether or not to recycle the pot and the leftover soil with plastics.

’At the moment the paper pots come from Sweden and the material used for them from Sweden, Germany and France. The wood raw material used is FSC certified,’ says Väinö Kurkaa, Assortment Manager at Lidl Finland.

Converting from plastic to paper pots requires horticultural companies to invest in new machinery and to adopt a new method of growing. Companies which are starting to use paper pots include at least Oksasen Puutarha, Robben pikku puutarha and Virolan puutarha.

’We have supported our partners during the process of deciding on this investment. The major work is undertaken by the horticultural companies, for they need to adapt their production to be able to use paper pots,’ says Kurkaa.

Paper pots can also be found in other shops selling similar produce in Finland.

Lidl also aims to decrease the use of plastics in the packagings of their in-house brands by one fifth and to have all of them recyclable by the end of 2025.

Are there plans to introduce paper pots in other countries, too? ’In Finland we are responsible for the assortment in our shops. I haven’t got the most recent updates on whether paper pots have been introduced elsewhere. I’m sure, though, that this is an innovation that will interest our colleagues in other countries where Lidl operates,’ Kurkaa thinks.

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