A Scottish designer has secured a distribution deal in Japan for the world’s first self-watering origami plant pot.
The art of paper folding is believed to have become popular in the Asian country more than 1,000 years ago.
Andrew Flynn, from Milngavie in East Dunbartonshire, left his engineering job at Dyson and founded POTR to promote sustainable design.
The pots are delivered flat-packed and a portion of the proceeds go to water charities.
The 32-year-old said: “Our products are heavily inspired by origami, so being able to stock our products in the home country of the art form is a pinch-me moment.”
After collecting and caring for houseplants over the years, Mr Flynn wanted to redesign the classic plant pot in a more sustainable way.
He told BBC Scotland News that the POTR design is 100 times more carbon efficient than traditional plant pots.
All the materials used are 100% recycled and the flat-pack pots can be delivered through a letterbox.
“If you ship a concrete or ceramic pot to someone, you’re essentially shipping a large and heavy volume of air,” he said.
“Those pots are fragile and need to be bubble-wrapped, so it’s a really inefficient use of energy.”
The POTR pots are primarily made of recycled polypropylene, a single-use plastic which would otherwise end up in landfill.
“The material is only 0.5mm thick, the actual volume of material we use is 95% less than a traditional plant pot,” he said.
“Traditional pots need to be thicker as the materials are quite fragile, but we can use less.”
He said the brand takes a “holistic” approach to sustainability in the face of it becoming a trendy buzzword.
Mr Flynn said: “Often companies will design a product and then think about how it can appear sustainable by making a small part of it eco-friendly. It’s a bit of an afterthought.
“But our aim is to consider it from day one.”
The plant is elevated above a reservoir of water in the base of the pot and a length of cord is used to draw the water up from the reservoir and into the soil of the plant.
This means plants could be left to self-regulate their watering needs for weeks.
The brand launched using a crowdfunder in August 2021.
It won Scottish EDGE a year later, the country’s biggest business funding competition, which gave a cash injection of £100,000.
The company started working with Scottish Development International after a series of Japanese importers and distributors showed interest in their origami pots.
The company will officially launch its products in Japan on Saturday.
Mr Flynn said the reaction in Japan had been “incredibly positive”.
“I think because the design is quite minimal it fits well with their design ethos and culture,” he added.
“After Japan, we’re hoping to launch in the US by the end of next year.”
He said the small team will expand from three members of staff to more than a dozen in the next 18 months.
And the company hopes to develop systems which allow people to grow a “daily harvest” of nutritious food in their home.