Plant-astic Ecover at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

When you think of RHS Hampton Court Flower Show, the immediate image that comes to mind is a dazzling display of flowers and plants from around the world, alongside stunning show gardens to inspire the gardener in all of us. What you certainly wouldn’t expect to be inspired by is a plastic bottle, but that’s exactly what Ecover aims to achieve.

As headline sponsor of the 2012 RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, Ecover are exhibiting a Show Feature that takes inspiration from their new packaging, Plant-astic, made entirely from sugar cane.

Created by award-winning garden designer and artist, Tony Smith, the simple, but effective display represents a sugar cane field with the central focus being a tree with Ecover ‘fruit’ hanging from it’s branches.

Highlighting how Ecover’s Plant-astic bottles are sustainable and renewable, unlike the petrochemical ingredients used in the past, the display explains how sustainably sourced, certified and ethically managed raw sugar cane is turned into plastic bottles, plus it shows the raw sugar cane, ‘plastic’ pellets and the finished Plant-astic packaging.

So why are Plant-astic bottles better for the environment? Firstly, sugar cane is sustainable and renewable, the production of Plant-astic is also very efficient, in fact just 15 hectares of sugar cane is required to produce all the materials for a year’s supply of Ecover bottles, and of course, Plant-astic is 100% recyclable.

It’s not just Ecover’s packaging that is good for the environment, the products are too, made from plant-based and mineral ingredients they are safer for you, your family and they biodegrade quickly and completely.

To find out more about Ecover and it’s new packaging, I was invited to interviewed Tom Domen, Ecover’s Long Term Innovation Manager.

The first question I asked was ‘Is Ecover the same price as ‘non-green’ cleaners?’ The answer I got to this question was ‘no’, they are a little more expensive at this moment in time. However, as Tom  explained, this is changing. As the trend for petrochemicals going up in price continues and the price of plant-based materials is going down, it may not be too long before products like Ecover have the financial, as well as the eco advantage over it’s chemical-based competitiors.

That said, what price is the safety of our own health, our children’s and the world that we are leaving them to live in?

So what else are Ecover doing to reduce packaging going to landfill?

I asked Tom, ‘Why don’t Ecover offer ‘bulk’ buy options in supermarkets to help customers reduce their packaging waste?’ The answer he told me is that, unfortunately Ecover, like all producers are bound by supermarket listings, however it’s not all bad news. Did you know that Ecover run a re-fill system in health food stores? Saving both packaging waste and money you can re-fill you bottle up to 50 times before you need to recycle it. Ecover sell over 91,000 litres of refill a year – imagine how many tonnes of plastic that saves going to landfill. To find out where your nearest refill station is click here.

Finally, why did Ecover choose the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show to showcase their new packaging? The answer, simple really, Ecover wanted to celebrate the clever science of their natural environment and what better event to support than the UK’s biggest gardening show.

To find out more about Ecover and their products, head over to their website. And don’t forget to tune into BBC 2 tonight as Monty Don, Rachel de Thame and Joe Swift will be sharing the highlights of this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.

Finally, I also had the opportunity to discuss with botanist and BBC Countryfile’s James Wong, the future of plants and how scientists are mimicking nature to create sustainable products and solutions for future generations. More on this soon.. and I promise you, it’s not as ‘heavy’ as it would seem :)

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