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AUCKLAND, New Zealand, February 7, 2005 --/WORLD-WIRE/--
Conservation of precious water in agriculture and horticulture just became easy and cost-effective with a new organic product - the EcoCover mulch mat.

EcoCover mulch mats provide a compostable physical barrier, holding water in, reducing weed growth and shielding soil and plant roots from the effects of solar radiation.

EcoCover uses a unique combination of Kraft paper and newspaper for its mulch mat. Used newspaper is removed from the waste stream and utilized to provide a physical barrier that conserves moisture, reduces weeds, and shields soil and plant roots from the effects of solar radiation and temperature extremes.

logo Research has shown that there is nothing in black or white or color newsprint that will damage plants or harm soil. Studies have confirmed that mulching with black and white newpaper pages introduces no toxic chemical into the soil even when regular newsprint pages with color photos on them are part of the mix.

In fact, AgriQuality, a state owned enterprise of the New Zealand Government that acts as New Zealand's leading organic certifier, has granted organic certification to EcoCover.

EcoCover mulch mats are considered to be environmentally beneficial, not neutral, and EcoCover (NZ) Limited has received government approval to use the prestigious label "Environmental Choice New Zealand."

Mulching is an important practice for establishing plantings as it helps to conserve moisture in the root ball of the new plant until it establishes roots in the adjacent landscape. EcoCover conserves up to 82% of the water that penetrates the mat.

Water conservation is becoming a crucial factor that secures success for growers. EcoCover reduces evaporation and can prevent up to 75% water loss due to evaporation, a great improvement over the 10-50% results with other types of mulch.

EcoCover founder Murray Cruickshank says, "Water is a valuable and increasingly scarce resource. The projected growth in world population will make nearly all environmental problems worse. One of the first effects, though not necessarily the most visible, is likely to be a shortage of fresh water. Rivers are running dry. Water tables are shrinking. The demand for water is simply outrunning the supply. A new balance needs to be re-established between the supply of water and the use of water."

One hectare of native New Zealand garden where black plastic has been replaced with EcoCover. Bark to be laid.
Pastures, turf, nurseries, domestic and commercial landscaping, forest plantings, roadsides and urban footpaths are all environments that will benefit from the application of EcoCover mulch mats.

Acting as a vapor barrier, EcoCover slows evaporation in even the hottest conditions, and the need for watering is reduced. Increased moisture retention means less cracking in the soil, and vital air and water movement through the soil is improved. Moisture retention results in better temperature stability in hot and cold conditions, reducing the risk of stress to new plantings and frost damage during winter.

EcoCover is particularly effective when used in conjunction with drip irrigation. Traditional spray irrigation loses about a third of the water to evaporation and winds.

EcoCover is able to control a wide range of weeds, both annual and perennial, and will control more weeds in some crops than the herbicides available. EcoCover mats are exceptionally effective at suppressing and inhibiting weed growth, so they can reduce or eliminate the need for certain chemical and herbicide applications.

EcoCover will completely decay into the soil over time, leaving neither harmful residual evidence nor contaminants of any type in the soil, while at the same time enhancing and feeding organic matter to the soil during biodegradation.

EcoCover enhances agro-ecosystem health by improving the air and water movement through the soil; providing moist conditions thereby promoting microorganisms and worm populations; promoting the build up of leaf litter, and helping to improve the pH balance in the soil.

EcoCover (NZ) Limited intends to identify like minded parties who have a desire to benefit the environment through the use of our technology and wish to purchase manufacturing plants for their own use. A manufacturing plant costs approximately US$1.4m delivered.

Cruikshank announced today that he will make a donation towards reforestation with every EcoCover manufacturing plant sold outside New Zealand.

"For every plant we sell internationally we will donate $10,000 to a worthy cause that will be in the business of planting trees and re-establishing the environment," he said. "A percentage of the plant cost will be donated back to the environment, to a worthy cause we'd love to support."

Interested parties are invited to view the website at: Confidential documentation can be forwarded upon request.

Murray Cruickshank
EcoCover Developments Limited
Tel: *64 (0) 9 836 3338
Fax: *64 (0) 9 836 3318

Paper Mulch Mat License No. EC2304018

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