ACCELERATING efforts to collect and recycle tree shelters, plus the need for better understanding of the science behind biodegradable shelters, were identified as key priorities following a stakeholder day attended by representatives from national forestry and land management organisations.

Attendees from Confor, Forestry England, the Forestry Working Plastics Group and other key organisations were hosted at Tubex’s Aberdare facility as part of its stakeholder day, held in the wake of a planting season defined by debates over the use of plastics in forestry. 

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The delegates came together for round-table discussions on the future of tree-shelter use and the challenges currently facing tree planters across the UK.

Key issues identified in the discussions were the desire to ramp up tree-shelter collection efforts, particularly legacy tree shelters, and the importance of independent life cycle analysis (LCA) research into biodegradable materials. 

A need for public engagement on why tree shelters are required and the importance of educating landowners on the availability of recycling initiatives were also highlighted.

Tubex also showed a preview of its work with an independent research institute into the long-term efficacy and environmental impact of biodegradable tree shelters. 

In attendance was Richard Hunter, technical and industry support manager at Confor, who said: “The open day was extremely interesting, seeing Tubex’s modern manufacturing plant, the research behind its products and its drive to innovate within the sector.

“In times when forestry is under scrutiny to hit planting targets whilst capturing and storing carbon, it is important that we can also be seen to be dealing with issues of the past such as recycling old tubes.”