Jiffy helping to develop circular growing media solutions
More substitutes to peat needed
Global demand for growing media is skyrocketing. European potting soil companies lead the market in terms of both quality and cultivation expertise, but we need additional peat substitutes to consolidate this position. Alternatives to peat include coconut (by-)products, wood (by-)products, fibers such as grass and hemp, and local organic waste products. To be converted into growing media, Dutch organic waste normally requires processing to reduce salinity and acidity, remove growth inhibitors, and improve stability.
Jiffy and eight other Dutch parties have set up a Public Private Project (PPP) that is taking a circular approach to developing new growing media. The PPP will identify optimal processing techniques and produce high-quality new fiber products and organic by-products.
“We know we can drive valuable innovations by working with partners in this way,”
PPP will develop more than one solution
The market for growing media (4 million m3/year) is extensive and requires multiple solutions. That is why the PPP includes four companies whose core business is the collection and processing of organic waste. Each will focus on different organic waste products and different markets. One of the partners, Attero, will look at the rinsing and neutralizing of compost and wood fiber. Den Ouden will focus on stabilizing organic residues as low-sodium biochar. Mavitec will concentrate on developing nutrient-rich ecochar for outdoor cultivation. And Terrafibre will look at how to bind plant fibers into stable growing media. The Greenhouse Horticulture business unit at Wageningen University & Research and TNO will investigate specific scientific questions.
Jiffy and the PPP’s other potting soil participants, BvB-Kekkilä and Pokon Naturado, will process the resulting compost into various substrate products and soil improvers. These will then be used to grow seedlings in order to identify which ones are most effective for various crops and under different conditions. We will then create optimal mixes and offer them to growers and consumers along with instructions for use.
To deliver products with multiple benefits
Jiffy is committed to bringing products with ever better sustainability claims to the market. “This is one of the ways we’re working to offer customers more environmentally friendly solutions,” says Beekers. “It is fully in line with our mission, consumer demand, government policy, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”
Thanks to the products the PPP is developing, companies in the indoor horticulture sector will be able to increase the sustainability claims of their produce. For arable farms, using stabilized organic matter will increase their soil’s organic matter levels. And because biochar is so stable, using it counts as negative CO2 emissions. These benefits mean the PPP will help to meet demand for more sustainable solutions as well as contributing to a more circular economy.
The four-year project launches in June 2021.