Impact of Plastics in the Floriculture Industry

in HortTechnology
Roy A. Larson Professor, Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7609.

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Plastic products have revolutionized commercial floriculture. Even plastic flowers have caused a new marketing consideration because they are quite competitive with the marketing of live material. Plastic pots are used widely because they are lightweight, attractive, and relatively inexpensive. Plastic flats and trays have been readily accepted by the consumer, and were instrumental in the development of plug culture. Major components of automatic watering systems are made of plastic, and much of the plumbing practiced in commercial floriculture is done with plastic pipe and fittings. Plastic foams are used in floral arrangements, growing media, and propagation cubes or strips. Plastic is used to make steam-sterilization covers, shading material for the manipulation of both light intensity and photoperiod, and mulches or ground covers to help control weeds. Very large quantities of plastic are used in commercial floriculture, and recent landfill restrictions have necessitated procedures for recycling. Recycling procedures are known, but logistics and economics of recycling have not been resolved completely.

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