Packaging Company Designs Reusable Plant Tray

Packaging company Walther Faltsysteme has delivered the first 20,000 reusable plant trays to nurseries and wholesalers as part of a tender process. The Euro Plant Trays are to become part of the new European standard for plant trays and gradually replace the single-use trays.

150 million plant trays are destroyed every year in Germany – the cooperative Euro Plant Tray eG (EPT), which is made up of various DIY stores, nurseries and wholesalers from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands, wants to change that. Together they want to establish a reusable system and pool management for reusable plant trays, the Euro Plant Trays.

Walther Faltsysteme GmbH participated in the tender and submitted design proposals. With success. The packaging company made it into the top 2. “Our design is more than a copy of the previous disposable trays made of high-quality polypropylene,” explains Andre Hecker, project manager at Walther Faltsysteme. “We’ve brought in additional webs so that the trays are particularly stable and don’t bend even when empty.”

Traceability via labeling

Another advantage of the design: the trays can be nested inside each other and have a stacking height of 20 millimeters. Thus, 666 pieces fit on one pallet, which offers great advantages in empty transport, he says. Unlike the disposable trays, the Euro Plant Trays are guaranteed to make 100 rotations and be in use for more than ten years. A water reservoir supplies the plants with water. “Of course, our trays are also marked with a label consisting of a QR and bar code so they can be tracked at any time.” The trays’ cleanability was also taken into account. Large recessed grips on all sides allow for optimal handling, Hecker says.

Practical test has begun

The design was followed by an initial prototype from the 3D printer and then the first low-volume production to conduct tests with all parties involved. “In our own tool shop, we produced a completely new tool over the past few weeks. At the end of February, we were then able to start production of the first 20,000 units,” says Oliver van Neerven, Head of Product Management. Walther delivered the first products at the beginning of March 2023. Now the plant trays are to prove themselves in practical testing. “We are very excited to see how our product is received by customers and of course hope that our design will prevail,” says van Neerven. After all, EPT will already decide in the summer with which design it will launch pool management. At the beginning of 2024, nurseries and DIY stores will then be supplied with the Euro Plant Trays and these will be launched on the market. The goal, they say, is to have 6 million reusable trays in circulation by 2025 and then to continuously expand the product range.

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