Every year the New Zealand wine industry uses an estimated 30 million plastic vine clips to hold nets over ripening bunches of grapes to prevent loss from birds and other pests.
The clips are used for 6 – 8 weeks until the nets are removed and the clips fall to the ground. This leaves a growing pile of plastic that litters vineyards around the country and contributes to microplastic pollution.
Scion, a Crown Research Institute, spotted an opportunity to tackle this environmental issue. It designed a clip made from biodegradable thermoplastic material. Once broken and discarded, the clips are almost completely biodegraded over a period of nine months and continue to decompose in time for the new wine producing season.
Scion approached Elastomer Products to help commercialise the vine clip. Elastomer Products optimised the clip to create a solution that’s not just sustainable, but scalable too: PolyDegrade™ Vine Clips.
In 2020, Elastomer Products will produce 16 million clips and in 2021, 30 million, effectively replacing all non-biodegradable clips.