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A second life for substrates

April 12, 2023

Together with strawberry grower Royal Berry, Kekkilä-BVB has been piloting a second-life project for its (soilless) strawberry growing media.

At the end of 2022 the Dutch government, the horticultural industry, and other stakeholders reached an agreement: we’ve set targets to make substrates for professional growers and potting soil for the retail sector more sustainable. Clear targets were described in a covenant that should help guide the industry toward shared goals. By 2025, the share of circular raw materials in substrates for professional growing should increase to 35%. For retail products, it needs to be 60%.

A second life for strawberry substrates

Kekkilä-BVB believes it’s important to pick up the pace on all the ongoing circularity projects within the industry. The second-life project that we’ve been working on for our BVB Substrates brand is a clear example of one of these projects. Together with Royal Berry, we’ve been investigating a “take back” concept in which the grower uses optimized strawberry substrates that are fit for purpose. When the strawberry production phase is over, we collect the used substrate and thoroughly analyze it. Partners then process the material to make it safe to use in other segments. At the moment this second-life substrate gets a new purpose within the retail sector, but we are also piloting options to use it as a raw material for professional cultivation in for example the tree nursery industry.

For this to work, we need to be able to guarantee that the processed material is safe to use, of high quality, and contributes to a fit-for-purpose product.

More transparency in sustainability

For the strawberry grower that is piloting this take back concept, it’s important that we can provide a reliable Life Cycle Analysis and clear data about the environmental footprint. These types of changes within the production chain also influence the sustainability of the strawberries that Royal Berry grows.

We at Kekkilä-BVB firmly believe that research projects and partnerships like this greatly contribute to reaching our industry goals.

Watch the interview with Jan van Genderen of Royal Berry to learn more about their flourishing strawberry cultivation site and this innovative project investigating a second life for substrates.


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