With 110 hectares of land, Jan van Lierop is one of the largest organic vegetable producers in the Netherlands. Cleaning these vegetables are the main source of waste within the process, which is currently being used as fertilizer. This is more of a solution to get rid of the waste rather than a fertilizer technique itself. As a starting point, we asked ourselves, can there be another application to this crop waste?
During one of our chats, Jan told me: “Our customers do not choose the cheapest per se, instead they are more interested in the storytelling behind each product.” Then he added: “The Netherlands has a low consumption of organic vegetables in comparison with other countries such as Belgium”. Meaning that most of Jan’s production is exported to foreign countries and there is a lack of awareness in this field within the Netherlands.
Organic vegetables have to be packed individually, in order to explain where the produce comes from, its nutritional value and prevent contamination with non-organic vegetables. Nowadays, vegetables are packed in flowpack, which is a biodegradable transparent plastic. But consumers are not aware that this packaging can be thrown away with organic waste, nor is it explained on the packaging itself. As a result, this organic packaging ends up with regular plastic waste and does not decompose.
After a theoretical and practical research, it emerged that it is possible to make paper from any organic material. With this knowledge, the idea grew and the concept was developed: to pack Jan van Lierop’s vegetables in paper made from the waste streams of his own production. This packaging would also be the perfect medium to explain the story of Jan and the craft of growing organic vegetables.
We are currently working on a businessplan and the feasibility of the implementation of this packaging. Please contact us if you would like to collaborate.
In collaboration with Papiermakerij de Hoop, Rotterdam