Sparsholt College announce partnership for RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014

John Monger, Simon Walsha, Linda Salt (Huhtamaki) and Daniel Handley

John Monger, Simon Walsha, Linda Salt (Huhtamaki) and Daniel Handley

Sparsholt College Hampshire has formed a partnership with global packaging company Huhtamaki which will give their 2014 RHS Chelsea Flower garden, The Paper Chase, a truly sustainable theme.

Huhtamaki’s environmentally friendly BioWare packaging range runs through every element of the College’s garden for the forthcoming flower show. The manufacturing process and green credentials have inspired the design; plants are being grown in compost created from disposable BioWare cups used by all Sparsholt campus students and both the compost and BioWare products will feature at the show in May.

Horticulture lecturer Chris Bird, who is leading the 21 Extended Diploma students said: “Naturally we are already very environmentally aware and conscientious here at Sparsholt but through this new partnership with Huhtamaki our horticulture students have seen how one of the world’s largest packaging companies are also playing a significant role in designing and manufacturing future friendly products.”

A visit to Huhtamaki’s factory in Gosport inspired much of the student’s design for the garden. The many production processes, the speed and efficiency of the machines and importance of recycling all influenced the students as they collectively came up with creative ideas for the exhibit. As 17-year student John Monger said: “The visit to Huhtamaki showed me how diverse the industry is which gave me more of an idea how to design the garden.” He also observed: “Recycling is very important to the horticulture industry as it enables us to work with environmentally friendly materials.” Fellow student Simon Walsha was very inspired by the Huhtamaki visit, as he said: “Big businesses can be genuinely environmentally aware.”

The 2014 Chelsea team

The 2014 Chelsea team

It’s not just horticulture students who have been involved in the project. Every student and member of staff based at the College’s Sparsholt campus are also playing their part. Since December last year all hot drinks sold in the College restaurant and bar have been in BioWare cups.

The Horticulture students involved in the project have very much become recycling champions around the College campus. Their efforts have been rewarded as the cups have now been recycled and collected and taken off site for composting by another of Huhtamaki’s partners, the Woodhorn Group. Plants for the garden are to be grown in this compost thereby completing the circle.

Huhtamaki’s UK Foodservice Sales and Marketing Director, John Young, said: “It is a real honour to be involved in such a prestigious event as RHS Chelsea Flower Show. We are very proud of our BioWare products and see sustainability as the key to our future. This project is a fantastic way to illustrate the benefits and importance of recycling and composting and shows how we have managed to ‘close the loop’ by composting our cups, and then using the compost to grow the very plants that will be used to make more cups in the future. By partnering with Sparsholt College we are showing that this process is possible even to the very highest standards of horticulture.”

Sparsholt College Hampshire has a long history of Chelsea medal success achieving 5 Gold medals, 3 Silver-gilt medals, 4 Silver medals, 3 Bronze medals since 1998.

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