Lumiforte makes major strides in sustainability with bio-based coatings and cleaners

Behind the scenes, Lumiforte has been working on making its product range more sustainable for some time. The first bio-based and biodegradable coating will be introduced this summer. "The aim is to make our entire range bio-based and biodegradable, while of course maintaining its superior properties," says Halil Özkan of Lumiforte Netherlands. "In doing so, we fulfill our responsibility and assist growers globally in minimizing their environmental impact."

Global horticultural supply chains are facing significant challenges. To continue supplying the world's growing population with clean, sustainably and efficiently produced vegetables and floriculture products and to tackle climate change and pollution, sustainability is required on all fronts. As a producer of high-quality coatings and cleaners, Lumiforte does not shy away from that shared responsibility.

Four sustainability pillars

"We have been working on sustainability for years, in all areas of the company," says product manager horticulture Halil Özkan. "Our policy aligns with four key United Nations sustainability goals: responsible production and consumption, clean water, climate action and no hunger."  

Several actions have already resulted from this, such as using recycled plastic for packaging, actively collecting and recycling used packaging and promoting the use of large, reusable packaging units such as Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs). 

Entire range bio-based

Özkan: "We are currently on the eve of a genuine breakthrough, which will have a major impact on the environmental performance of Lumiforte as well as our customers. We are busy reformulating all our coatings and cleaners. Not because they are underperforming - quite the contrary - but to replace synthetic raw materials with natural ones. Lumiforte's entire product range will be bio-based and the first product launch is planned for this year."

The aim is to have a fully bio-based and biodegradable range in no more than four years. "We are working hard on that. Incidentally, this also puts us in the vanguard of new legislation in the European Union. It will come into force in 2028 and should radically reduce the use of microplastics in agriculture and horticulture. In the normal use of Lumiforte coatings, we can consider that no microplastics are intentionally added, but we cannot rule out a priori that microplastics could be created during the total life cycle of synthetic binders.

Huge operation


According to the product manager, this is a huge operation, which started as early as 2019. The new legislation mentioned above was far from being in place at the time. "So in a way, Lumiforte was ahead of the curve. We are incredibly happy about that because reformulating and testing our products requires a huge effort," he adds. "First and foremost, by our international R&D team. The holy grail was to find a universal, natural binder that could replace our current synthetic binder and change the properties of our coatings as little as possible." Ultimately, this was found in starch, which was made suitable as a binder via very specific modification.

The product manager: "Subsequently, this requires more extensive testing, both in the laboratory and in practice. We do the latter in France, Spain and the Netherlands. Last but not least, it may be necessary to slightly adjust the production process of the coating or cleaner. Fine-tuning this also takes time."

No noticeable differences


Özkan would not disclose at this stage what product will be replaced by an environmentally friendly, bio-based variant later this year. "We will announce that when the time is right and the product can be delivered from stock. For now, it suffices to say that the product in question has been extensively tested in recent years and can stand the test of time. Users will not experience any noticeable differences from their current, familiar product."

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