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Econova and Rani Plast collaborate on sustainable gardening products


Having already switched to garden soil bags made from recycled plastic, Econova of Sweden now sets its sights on improving sustainable packaging.

The trio behind the initiative to develop next-level sustainable garden soil and gardening products meet at Econova’s head office in Åby, in the Norrköping area of Sweden. They are Peter Herentz, (Purchasing and Transport Manager), Joel Bråthén (Product Manager), and Mathias Karlsson, Rani Plast’s Account Manager. Sitting at a table, they discuss lead times, the optimisation of production, and eco-friendly printing. Their objective is to launch a new line of garden soil bags made from recycled material, and ultimately to contribute to a more sustainable future.

A 20-year collaboration becomes a solid partnership

The family-owned Econova was founded in 1959 and is the Nordic region’s leading company in garden soil and garden supplies. Weibulls is its flagship brand. Econova has been a Rani Plast customer for more than twenty years, and is one of Rani Plast’s key customers in Sweden.

Thanks to our collaboration with Rani Plast, our bags are 100 per cent recyclable.

Joel Bråthén

The amount of RaniFFSPeat film delivered to Econova annually, is enough to produce 10—15 million garden soil bags for the retail market. The largest product for which the film is used is the 40-litre soil bag for horticulture and gardens throughout the Nordic region.

This longstanding business relationship between Econova and Rani Plast has now developed into a successful partnership.

Peter Herentz explains: “We are working with two suppliers at the moment to reduce risk. However, Rani Plast has managed to produce more volume than I forecasted. We know what to expect and we have a good working relationship. In my experience, it’s best to work with Finnish companies — they don’t commit to what they can’t deliver. It gives us peace of mind. We’ve had very few complaints over the years about Rani Plast’s delivery volumes. In my view, there has never been a reason to switch to another supplier.”

At Econova, 10–15 million garden soil bags are produced annually using the RaniFFS film.

The partnership is also beneficial from a product perspective. There is continuing dialogue between Econova and Rani Plast on sustainable and technical product development.

“We don’t just set standards. We develop products together,” adds Joel Bråthén. We engage in constructive dialogue about what works. We collaborated on reducing the amount of virgin material used, and on ensuring that the bags are 100 per cent recyclable. It is gratifying to have a business relationship that involves developing products together. Rani Plast is the expert on packaging, while I am the expert on the packaging’s contents. Teamwork at its best results in a synergy that can be very productive.”

“Mathias visits the factories regularly. He is immediately on-site if there is a problem or if we need to test new packaging. Working with Rani Plast makes our life easy. I can see us collaborating long into the future,” emphasises Peter.

Mathias Karlsson, Peter Herentz, and Joel Bråthén strive to contribute to a more sustainable future.

Production knowledge is crucial to a product’s success

Econova has plants and factories in three Swedish locations: Åby, in the area of Norrköping;  Sösdala, in Skåne; and Järle in the Nora area. Rani Plast supplies its RaniFFS Peat to all three locations.

As Bråthén says, “We’re dealing with highly technical matters. When changing packaging specifications, you must reassess its performance on the production line. You must monitor the welding temperature and check whether the bags end up on pallets frictionlessly, to name just a few things. In fact, monitoring the production line is crucial in product development. Innovative features mean nothing if the product doesn’t perform well on the line.”

“Econova is an important customer for us,” says Mathias Karlsson. “We have common interests, and being a Weibulls supplier offers us an excellent opportunity for growth in the plant substrate industry. We supply RaniFFS Peat for over 130 of Weibulls’ products.”

Working with Rani Plast makes our life easy. I can see us collaborating long into the future.

Peter Herentz

Econova and Rani FFSPeat EcoL’s sustainability journeys

Econova aims to be Sweden’s market leader in sustainable business practices. It concentrates its sustainability efforts on alternative raw materials, social and financial sustainability, and sustainable transport. Econova’s employees are satisfied, and its CEO, Jeanette Tretten, was nominated Sweden’s ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ for her leadership skills.

“We choose recycled plastic for environmental reasons, and our goal is for our packaging to contain 100 per cent recycled plastic. We no longer use plastic made from biomaterials or sugarcane, as external environmental consultants recommended that we increase our packaging’s percentage of recycled material. It is also important that the bags are heavy-duty as their content is heavy. The bags are thrown over shoulders, tossed into cars, and so on. We must ensure they survive the journey home,” explains Joel.

Our goal is for our packaging to contain 100 per cent recycled plastic.

Joel Bråthén

Another aspect of sustainability concerns the packaging’s printing ink, and the amount of ink used. Product Manager Joel Bråthén believes consumers will soon be receptive to a new look in packaging.

“I can see that consumers are becoming more willing to accept packaging that looks more natural. In the past, plastic had to be shiny, bold, and new, but today there is increasing demand for a more natural look. The soil bag plays an important role in our in-store advertising, so the packaging has to stand out from the rest. We are continuously developing all aspects of our products,” he concludes.

About Econova

  • Econova is the Nordic region’s leading soil and garden products company. Weibulls is its main brand.
  • The company was founded in 1959 by Bengt and Kerstin Andersson. It is still family-owned, and is now run by the third generation. Jeanette Tretten is CEO.
  • The head office is in Åby, in the Norrköping area of Sweden. The company also has offices in Denmark and Norway.
  • Econova has an annual turnover of SEK 600 million, and 140 employees.

Want to discover what next-gen sustainable garden soil bags will look like? Get in touch!

Mathias Karlsson with pellet bag

Mathias Karlsson

Account Manager
+46 703 499 092