Department of Horticulture
Bioplastic Container Cropping Systems project web site
One of the most significant obstacles to sustainability in the container-crops horticulture industry is the nearly universal reliance of present growing systems on containers (pots) made from non-renewable petroleum-based plastics. While the efficiency and productivity of petroleum-plastic containers are rarely questioned, the rising cost of petroleum materials, the non-renewable and non-domestic nature of their source, and the environmental damage caused by disposal of non-biodegradable plastics demonstrate a weakness in the sustainability and long-term profitability of these systems.
With an extensive background in plant ecophysiology, James Schrader's research activities focus on identifying, evaluating, and improving emerging bioplastic container materials to replace petroleum-based plastic containers in specialty crop production. The ultimate goal of this research is to discover and introduce sustainable bioplastic containers that will function as well as petroleum-plastic containers during crop production and sale, then will biodegrade harmlessly when installed with the plant in the landscape.
Video: James Schrader talks about the bioplastic container cropping systems research project