lock and key

Sign in to your account.

Account Login

Eco-friendly Containers are Here!

Angie VanWashenova, Sales & Business Development Manager, Four Star 
Danny Mishek, President of VistaTek in Stillwater, MN, which manufactures the new Eco+ Grande compostable pots, available from Proven Winners in 2022.

Experts estimate that only 2 to 10% of plastic pots in the United States are truly recycled, with most of them ending up in the landfill.  Proven Winners’® new Eco+ Grande™ container, which can be planted and is compostable, may just change everything.

With a background in plastic injection molding, Danny Mishek knows a lot about plastics and enough about the environment to wonder why so many products are still designed to last 1,200 years.

He started thinking about single-use products and realized “that products like plant containers don’t need to be around forever and can bring organic elements into industrial compost facilities,” he said.  “Plant containers jumped right out at me. I knew they could be improved.”

He is president of VistaTek, a manufacturer of the SelfEco brand in Stillwater, MN, and he is launching a product with a sustainable material that can work for professional growers and retailers, but also break down in the soil — something today’s consumers want. “Professional growers wanted containers robust enough for automated planting and production, while retailers wanted something that doesn’t break down on the bench, holds its color and doesn’t crack,” he explains. “We tested some versions that did well for plant growth, but they didn’t hold up well enough on the bench.”

Proven Winners Eco+ Grande Pot

Testing continued until the right version was developed. The answer was a product made of PLA, a bio-polymer, blended with other bio-polymers and plant nutrients. Proven Winners is introducing its version for the 2022 growing season — its new Eco+ Grande container, which is made from starchy renewable plants combined with additional organics.

The Eco+ Grande containers include nutrients right in the material to provide slow-release amino acids and proteins that nourish plants.

“This pot is just right — it’s sturdy enough for grower production, has shelf life for retailers and breaks down in the soil over time,” Mishek says. Each pot includes nutrients right in the material to provide slow-release amino acids and proteins that nourish plants. “Once the roots hit the walls, they feed off the nutrients and have less tendency to wrap.”

To ensure success for home gardeners, every pot has four tabs that snap off for planting. Gardeners can drop the tabs into the planting hole, then simply place the container and plant into the hole, pat with soil, and water. 

“I recommend gardeners check the soil after a year,” Mishek notes. He adds that depending on the growing conditions, the pot can be entirely broken down or some parts may remain. Gardeners can then till those in for the new season’s planting or if they are discarded for waste, the containers will break down into inert ingredients far more quickly than a traditional plastic pot.

Initially, growers and retailers were skeptical, he recalls, but when they tested the pots with their own production practices, the trials were successful. “Either growers didn’t see any difference between our pots and their traditional pots, or they had better plant growth with ours,” he says. 

Once he started working with Proven Winners to develop the Eco+ Grande container, Proven Winners growers and retailers conducted tests under real-life conditions, with similar success.

Angie VanWashenova, Sales & Business Development Manager, Four Star 
VistaTek produces the bio-polymer containers, designed to be planted right in the ground.  They are made in injection molding machines with In-Mold Labeling automation, shown here.

The finished products have snap-off tabs for easy planting and are designed to be compostable.

Gearing up for 2022

The pots are manufactured in Stillwater and use materials based on plants grown in the United States, so there are no international supply chain issues to complicate production for the foreseeable future. “We’ve been gearing up for growth and working with Proven Winners,” he says. “They are great partners, and we share testing data.”

The benefits of Eco+ Grande pots mean a lot to the folks at SelfEco Garden. Mishek explains, “People shouldn’t feel like they need to sacrifice to do something good for the planet. They shouldn’t have to change their behavior. This product makes it easy for them.”

To learn more about the Proven Winners Eco+ Grande container, contact Four Star at 734-654-6420, visit or email To see more FAQs about Eco+ Grande containers, click here. Visit SelfEco Garden or VistaTek to learn more about manufacturing compostable containers.