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Twinsburg, OH, October 17, 2023 – The HC Companies – North America’s leading manufacturer of horticultural containers – introduces the Low-Profile Tray, an entirely new category of horticulture trays that sets a radically new standard for efficiency, productivity, and sustainability. The polypropylene-based tray features 30% less resin content by weight without decreasing its durability, setting a new benchmark in sustainable design for the circular economy.
Developed through comprehensive research, hands-on trials, and in-depth conversations with professional growers across the United States, HC’s innovation team meticulously refined the tray’s design to directly address the industry’s top challenges and pressing needs for a tray that:
“The Low-Profile Tray represents a groundbreaking advancement in horticultural engineering that demonstrates HC’s steadfast commitment to continuously investing in manufacturing technologies and product innovation to meet the needs of professional growers, independent garden centers, retailers, and the evolving demands of the consumer market,” said Eric Gunderson, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
Innovation in Material Efficiency and Recyclability
Unlike conventional trays made of #6 polystyrene, the Low-Profile Tray is made from #5 polypropylene, a highly recyclable polyolefin thermoplastic polymer that is recycled and recovered 4 ½ times more than polystyrene. Polypropylene also has a 75% lower cradle-to-resin carbon footprint per pound of plastic than polystyrene.
Expedited Assembly and Increased Operational Efficiencies
The Low-Profile Tray arrives pre-assembled with ten, four-inch round, one-pint pots, and pre-oriented tag slots to expedite the setup, assembly, and tagging process. The pre-assembled systems are bulk palletized, and collectively save up to 20% warehouse space versus a typical bulk pallet of pots and up to seven bulk pallets of matching trays. The pre-assembled systems also eliminate product overages of extra pots or trays.
Eco-Friendly Engineering for Less Waste and More Space
The open frame design of the Low-Profile Tray allows soil to easily fall through and be reclaimed during the filling process to reduce soil waste by as much as 98%. The tray’s nesting design allows 50 Low-Profile Trays to occupy the same space as eight traditional, assembled, and stacked trays to free up floor space for staging assembled pots line-side.
Ergonomic Design Doubles Load-Carrying Capacity
The tray’s ergonomic design allows for a more neutral carry versus traditional trays and lets one person comfortably carry four fully loaded trays at once, doubling the previous limit of two trays per person. The Low-Profile Tray’s handles and smooth side rails eliminate cuts from the sharp edges common with polystyrene trays.
Reduced Downtime and Higher Accuracy for Automated Systems
Ideal for automated systems, the Low-Profile Tray has a larger exposed pot surface for branding or labeling. Open gaps between pots ensure consistent triggering of automated labeling, transplanting, or staging systems.
Reshaping Horticulture From Production to Point of Sale
The Low-Profile Tray’s uniform design creates a sleek, professional retail display, and provides maximum container space to prominently display logos and branding. Quick-release clips secure pots in place to limit plant damage during transit and ensure consumers can see, buy, and take home plants in pristine condition.
“The sustainability of the Low-Profile Tray has resonated extremely well with consumers,” said Mark Hembree, Senior Product Marketing Manager. “Once they learn the tray uses less material, is made from recycled content, and is highly recyclable, they react favorably to the new design. The Low-Profile Tray is the ultimate solution for efficiency and productivity while staying true to HC’s commitment to environmental sustainability.”
For more information on the Low-Profile Tray, visit www.hc-companies.com.
About The HC Companies, Inc.
The HC Companies is a proud culmination of many legacy brands and continues to transform the horticultural industry through bold leadership, innovative manufacturing, and a comprehensive portfolio of products ideal for greenhouse, nursery, cannabis, retail, and commercial markets. Headquartered in Twinsburg, Ohio, with production facilities throughout North America, HC manufactures growing solutions using the latest technologies and materials to satisfy the challenges of a continuously evolving industry. In addition to its horticultural containers, HC supports a full line of sustainable solutions, including protective packaging, consumer products, growing containers, and more.
Link to the original press release
(Twinsburg, Ohio) March 28, 2022 – The HC Companies – North America’s leading manufacturer of horticultural containers – has seen unprecedented demand for their products over the last few growing seasons. This is a direct result of the home-gardening revival, which surged in popularity during the spring of 2020.
“From our suburban neighborhoods to urban metropolises, more and more individuals realize the countless benefits gardening provides,” says Bob Mayer, President and CEO of The HC Companies. “Beyond contributing to the overall health of our planet, gardening has united families and communities, improved people’s mental and physical well-being, and provided freshly grown foods full of nutrition. These benefits and more are why gardening continues to remain popular today.”
As interest in home gardening continues to thrive across North America, seasonal demand for plants and products is outpacing the available supply, compounded by challenges with overburdened shipping schedules and material sourcing. While horticulture is not the only industry plagued with supply chain issues due to extraordinary consumer demand, growers often have a narrow window for cultivation and rely on containers to increase their inventory.
“Like so many other organizations, we feel it is our responsibility to our customers to invest in solutions to help improve our manufacturing, and ultimately our supply chain, to get growing containers into the hands of growers and gardeners as quickly as possible,” says Mayer. “This includes not only an investment in equipment and technologies but our team members as well.”
Some of the ways HC is helping the horticulture industry satisfy the increased demands of gardeners include:
“Our teams remain dedicated to finding solutions to help our supply chain now and well into the future,” says Mayer. “Our customers are our top priority, and we are continuously working on new ideas to accommodate shifts in product demands.”
For more information on HC’s full line of horticulture containers, visit hc-companies.com.
TWINSBURG, Ohio, July 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The HC Companies – North America’s leading manufacturer of horticultural containers – has expanded their sustainable offerings to include a new biobased resin material. HC’s BioPax™ growing containers are a technological marvel for the industry and help support the organization’s environmental initiatives.
“As part of our ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship, BioPax™ offers a new, fit-for-purpose alternative to the customers we serve,” says Bob Mayer, President and CEO of The HC Companies. “Plastic containers are still the standard for many growers. However, to better serve our industry, we also believe it is our responsibility to offer our customers an assortment of choices when it comes to growing containers.”
By incorporating a sustainably sourced wood pulp material with no harmful PFAS or heavy metals in the production process, BioPax™ growing containers are manufactured using over 50% of renewable biocontent that does not compromise the performance and integrity of the containers growers know and trust. Additionally, they are non-GMO and non-toxic, and the material is part of the USDA’s BioPreferred® Program, which focuses on developing and expanding markets for biobased products.
“HC is proud to offer its customers a comparable and more sustainable alternative to the plastic containers so many growers are familiar with,” says Jessica Benoit, Director of Sustainability Solutions at The HC Companies. “Consequently, consumers can feel positive knowing that their purchase is not contributing to the problems of overburdened landfills. It’s a win-win for everyone, and HC is just getting started.”
Currently available in 3 inch and 4.5 inch rounds, BioPax™ growing containers are designed for reuse. In addition, they can be more responsibly disposed of with other waste products as the material naturally breaks down with the aid of microorganisms without leaving behind any harmful microplastics.
“Our sustainable focus revolves around four core themes: biodiversity, water use, waste reduction, and education and engagement,” says Benoit. “We recognize that each grower and customer differs as to their product requirements. Therefore, BioPax™ expands our commitment for a full portfolio of containers to accommodate the entire industry with products inspired by one or more of these environmental themes.”
To help further differentiate BioPax™ growing containers in the market, they are offered in what is known as “EcoGreen” coloring. The containers have a unique swirl-like pattern caused by the material being blended into the bio-based color.
“Rather than try and conceal the sustainable composition of our BioPax™ containers by adding colorants for consistency, this unique design, with no two containers looking the same, creates an earthy, untainted appearance which will undoubtedly appeal to today’s consumers,” adds Benoit.
BioPax™ growing containers will be presented at the upcoming Cultivate’21 trade show held in Columbus, Ohio on July 10 – 13. If you plan to attend, you can visit The HC Companies at booth #1809 to see BioPax™ containers firsthand.
For more information on HC’s BioPax™ sustainable growing containers, visit hc-companies.com.
Link to original online release
(Twinsburg, Ohio) March 1, 2021 – The HC Companies – North America’s leading manufacturer of horticultural containers – has been formally recognized by the Forest Stewardship Council® for their portfolio of fiber growing and protective packaging solutions with the designation of “FSC® Recycled 100%”. This recognition is part of HC’s continued commitment towards manufacturing more sustainable offerings for the market.
“For over 30 years, HC’s been providing fiber-based solutions to the North American market – helping organizations and communities positively impact their environmental footprint,” says Bob Mayer, President and CEO of The HC Companies. “We are honored that our fiber-based solutions now carry this prestigious designation as we continue to innovate our product line to satisfy the environmental demands of growers, garden centers, big-box stores and of course consumers.”
Products which bear the “FSC® Recycled 100%” designation have been verified as being made from 100% recycled content (either post-consumer or pre-consumer reclaimed materials). The use of FSC Recycled products can help to alleviate the pressure of demand on sources of virgin material, thereby helping to protect the world’s forests.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a global, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of responsible forest management worldwide. FSC defines standards based on agreed principles for consistent forest stewardships, which are supported by environmental, social and economic stakeholders.
Choosing products with the FSC designation ensures that both customers and organizations are doing their part to preserve forests across the globe.
Learn more about The HC Companies fiber-based growing containers and protective packaging solutions by visiting their website hc-sustainable.com.
Link to original online release
(Twinsburg, Ohio) November 11, 2020 – The HC Companies – North America’s leading manufacturer of horticulture containers – is now a proud recipient of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Certified Biobased Product Labeling Program for both their EcoGrow® and FiberGrow® lines of sustainable growing containers, as well as their fiber protective packaging solutions.
“For over 30 years, HC’s been providing fiber-based solutions to the North American market – helping organizations and communities positively impact their environmental footprint,” says Eric Gunderson, Sr. Vice President of Sales and Marketing for The HC Companies. “We are honored that our fiber-based solutions meet the high standards maintained by the USDA. With this esteemed certification, growers, garden centers, big-box stores and consumers – through quantifiable data – know they are making responsible choices.”
The USDA Certified Biobased Product Label displays a product’s biobased content, which is derived from plants and other renewable agricultural, marine and forestry materials. Biobased products generally provide an alternative to conventional petroleum derived products and include a variety of offerings such as lubricants, detergents, inks, fertilizers, containers and bioplastics.
“We applaud The HC Companies for earning the USDA Certified Biobased Product Label,” said Vernell Thompson, USDA BioPreferred Program. “Products from The HC Companies are contributing to an ever-expanding marketplace that adds value to renewable agriculture commodities, creates jobs in rural communities and decreases our reliance on petroleum.”
According to a report released by the USDA in July 2019, biobased products contributed $459 billion to the U.S. economy in 2016 (a 17% increase from 2014) and support – both directly and indirectly – 4.6 million jobs. The report’s research team estimates the reduction of fossil fuels and associated GHG emissions from biobased products equivalent to approximately 12 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2016.
Learn more about The HC Companies fiber-based growing containers and protective packaging solutions, as well as their biobased content, by visiting their website hc-sustainable.com.
About the USDA BioPreferred Program and Certified Biobased Product label
The BioPreferred Program is a USDA-led initiative that assists the development and expansion of markets for biobased products. The BioPreferred Program is transforming the marketplace for biobased products through two initiatives: mandatory purchasing requirements for Federal Agencies and Federal contractors and voluntary product certification and labeling. Biobased products span a diverse range of applications, such as lubricants, cleaning products, chemicals and bioplastics. The USDA Certified Biobased Product label communicates a product’s biobased content. Expressed as a percentage, biobased content is the ratio of non-fossil organic carbon (new organic carbon) to total organic carbon in a product. New organic carbon is derived from recently-created materials. The total organic carbon in a product consists of new organic carbon and old organic carbon that originates from fossil carbon materials, such as petroleum, coal, or natural gas. More than 3,500 products have earned the USDA Certified Biobased Product label. To learn more about the USDA Certified Biobased Product label please visit www.biopreferred.gov and follow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BioPreferred.
(Twinsburg, Ohio) August 13, 2019 – The HC Companies – North America’s leading supplier of horticulture containers – is proud to announce the launch of their new website, hc-companies.com. The new website features a more modern, streamlined design, improved functionality and easily accessible information for users.
“We are thrilled to debut our new company website to our customers in the greenhouse, nursery and retail markets,” said Eric Gunderson, Senior V.P. of Sales and Marketing at HC. “For years our customers have been asking for an upgraded user interface and more product information on our site, and we’re incredibly proud to finally be able to deliver.”
Created with the user’s experience in mind, the site includes many new features to help customers quickly and easily find the products they’re looking for with more effective product filters and auto populated sample request forms – all while being equally compatible on both desktop and mobile platforms.
HC’s new website will be updated on a regular basis with more product information, additional imagery, new product launches and industry news through their blog, Growing Together. Additionally, a dedicated cannabis page has been created to further support HC’s full-line of cannabis growing containers in this emerging market.
The HC Companies was recognized soon after the new website’s launch with the Award of Distinction in the Visual Appeal – Function Category for Websites. The Communicator Awards is an international program highlighting big ideas in marketing and communications and receives over 6,000 entries from companies and agencies of all sizes each year.
Visitors are encouraged to explore HC’s new website, browse products and sign up for their informative and inspiring monthly E-newsletter.
Design and implementation of the new website was executed by Webolutions – an award-winning, Denver, Colorado based web design, SEO and digital marketing agency.
(Twinsburg, Ohio) January 10, 2019 – North America’s leading supplier of horticulture containers – The HC Companies – is beginning the new year with a pair of product launches designed exclusively for the greenhouse market.
The new 4.5” Square Quick Lock Pot and 6” Azalea Pot are currently being produced at the company’s facilities.
“We’re incredibly excited to introduce these new products into the market,” said Mark Hembree, Product Manager. “We’ve spent a great deal of time surveying the needs of our customers and adjusting the overall design. We believe the market will share in our excitement once they see the products first-hand.”
As labor challenges and energy needs continue to be an issue among growers throughout the country, the 4.5” Square was designed with automation in mind for effortless denesting using automated filling machines. Additionally, HCs Quick Lock trays allow growers to “press and lock” the pots into the tray for a semi-automated solution.
“When designing these pots, it was imperative they be compatible with automation machines. Let’s face it, labor challenges aren’t going away, therefore all similar products need to address this reality,” added Hembree.
The 6” Azalea Pot has updated a perennial favorite among growers. The pot features increased drainage and easily converts to a hanging basket for versatility. This pot also benefits from superior denesting capability and rim strength for filling and spacing in automated environments.
Hembree adds, “We’re all incredibly proud of these two releases. These new pots will help growers take everyday tasks and make them simpler and more efficient. But just don’t take our word for it, request a sample today and see for yourself.”
Pre-ordering is now open for delivery in the second quarter of 2019. For questions, orders or sample requests, contact The HC Companies at 800-225-7712.
(Twinsburg, OH) April 24, 2018 – North America’s leading supplier of horticulture containers – The HC Companies – will invest in new manufacturing technologies aimed at improving product consistency and delivery times for the horticulture industry. This investment will seamlessly replace almost half of The HC Companies’ equipment fleet while maintaining an uninterrupted production schedule.
One of the main advantages of this modern technology is the ability to better utilize recycled materials, resulting in greater efficiencies throughout the production process. Additionally, this latest generation of molding equipment will bring energy efficient, high-performance and space-saving solutions to The HC Companies’ manufacturing facilities. “The first wave of new machines are already on the shop floor and they are truly impressive – operating at state-of-the-art levels of production output and efficiency,” states Jim Bennett, President and CEO of The HC Companies.
In an evolving industry facing labor challenges, increased use of automation, higher operating costs and strict quality demands, The HC Companies recognized an opportunity to invest in a strategy focused on improving customer experience.
“A plan is only good if you take the time to properly plan for it. And we have,” states Eric Gunderson, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at The HC Companies. That plan includes an overall business strategy focused on better serving the customer through continuous improvement, machine modernization and investing in the core of the business.
Implementation at The HC Companies’ North American manufacturing facilities is well under way, with new equipment and technologies currently being installed and on-track for completion by the fall of 2018 – just in time for the delivery of new orders for the spring of 2019. Full replacement or refurbishment of the remaining fleet will be addressed over the next several years.
“Our efforts are starting to provide positive returns for our customers, which is evident in our improved service levels, quality, order fulfillment and timely delivery,” says Gunderson. “This is truly an exciting time to be a part of The HC Companies.”