Berry growers present innovation challenge to solve agricultural plastic waste – Urban Ag News

Watsonville, Calif .– The leader in fresh berries, Driscoll’s, has partnered with Think Beyond Plastic to launch a first innovation challenge for agricultural plastics, which aims to stimulate new recycling processes and the development of alternatives to plastics of land conventionally used. Innovators, entrepreneurs, research institutes, start-ups and institutions are encouraged to submit applications for innovative solutions, and the winners will have the opportunity to pilot their innovations in a commercial environment. A dedicated Ag Plastics Innovation portal is available for submissions with a deadline of November 30, 2021.

Using plastic in berry production has been found to have significant benefits, such as improved yield, reduced food loss, and improved food security, among other benefits. However, a range of environmental, community and economic impacts remain as recycling is not a viable option for plastics that come into contact with soil, which makes up a significant portion of agricultural plastics.

To make meaningful and lasting change, Driscoll’s reached out to other berry industry leaders, including Aneberries, California Giant, Gem Pak, Good Farms and Naturipe, to join the innovation challenge. The Agricultural Plastics Innovation Challenge is an opportunity for berry growers to identify early stage innovations that efficiently collect, recycle, compost or convert waste into energy. A panel of experts will select the winners in each category who have demonstrated their ability to transform their innovations into commercial production and deliver real environmental benefits.

“Driscoll’s is proud to be the sponsor of the Agricultural Plastics Innovation Challenge, as it will help the entire industry discover scalable and economically viable solutions to improve the use and recyclability of agricultural plastics,” said Scott Komar, Senior Vice President of Global R&D, Driscoll’s. “We believe it is important to invest in ways to tackle plastic waste and understand that as an industry we all have a role to play in engaging in broad and meaningful action towards more sustainable products that are good for people and the planet. “

The Ag Plastics Innovation Challenge complements existing efforts by Driscoll’s and others in the berry industry to reduce the environmental impact of plastic shells. In early 2020, Driscoll’s and other players in the fresh berry industry jointly committed to achieving 100% packaging ready for recycling by 2025.

“As an industry, we share a common goal of reducing the environmental impact of plastics,” said Joe Barsi, president of California Giant Berry Farms. “It challenges us to think beyond the shell and tackle the hard-to-recycle plastic used in berry production. We owe it to our growing communities, our producers and our consumers to be leaders and help find solutions.

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About Driscoll’s

Driscoll’s is the world market leader in strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and fresh blackberries. With over 100 years of agricultural heritage, Driscoll’s is a pioneer of berry flavor innovation and the trusted consumer brand of Only the Finest Berries ™. With over 900 independent growers around the world, Driscoll’s develops exclusive patented berry varieties using only traditional breeding methods that focus on growing tasty berries. A dedicated team of agronomists, breeders, sensory analysts, plant pathologists and entomologists help grow young plants which are then grown on local family farms. Driscoll’s now serves consumers year round across North America, Australia, Europe and China in more than twenty-two countries. As a fourth generation producer and the son of one of the founders of Driscoll, J. Miles Reiter is President and CEO.

About Think Beyond Plastic

Founded in 2012, the Think Beyond Plastic Foundation leads a global multidisciplinary effort to eliminate global plastic pollution by harnessing the strengths of innovation. For more information, visit The Think Beyond (™) Innovation Center is leading global action to spark a wave of innovation that meets the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. To secure a rich innovation pipeline, it builds an innovation ecosystem connecting industry, investors and innovators. The Innovation Center has a network of regional user facilities for design, testing, characterization and prototyping across the United States, as well as in Europe – Germany and Bulgaria. For more information visit

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