WELLINGTON, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- A new product developed with help from New Zealand's Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) will offer an alternative to the estimated 350 million plastic trays and pots used by the country's nurseries and gardeners each year.
The ministry has supported Pinehurst Associates Ltd to develop a proof of concept for biodegradable garden pots, MPI's Director of Investment Programs Steve Penno said in a statement on Monday.
"The pots can last 12 months above ground before biodegrading, with the biodegrading process starting as soon as soil is added. They can be planted directly into the ground, with the pot providing fertilizer for the plant as the pot biodegrades," Penno said.
"Taking commonly used plastic pots out of landfills will also help the environment," he said.
MPI contributed more than 41,000 NZ dollars (about 23,100 U.S. dollars) to the project through the Sustainable Food and Fiber Futures fund. This has enabled Pinehurst Associates to refine its research and development, and work through manufacturing issues.
The product is currently being tested in three commercial nurseries.