NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - A Nashville flower company is shifting its focus from packaging plant food to producing single-use packets of hand sanitizer.

Holtkamp Greenhouses has found a timely use for a machine that normally packages plant food. The machine has been repurposed for single-use packets of hand sanitizer.

Every squirt from the tube dispenses one-tenth of an ounce of hand sanitizer into packets that people can share with friends, co-workers, or just strangers they come into contact with.

"The share a pouch concept is that you can have some in your pocket and you can share them with people that you meet, you encounter," Rienhold Holtkamp, of Holtkamp Greenhouses, said.

"Optimara is the world's largest grower of African Violets," Holtkamp said. His family business has roots in Germany and expanded to Nashville in 1977.

When a person purchases one of their African Violets, they will get a packet of powdered plant food.

Nashville flower company shifts focus from plant fertilizer to hand sanitizer

Shane Smiley from Holtkamp Greenhouses donated 10,000 unique condiment-size packets of hand sanitizer to the Metro Nashville Police Department 

When the pandemic started, Holtkamp asked, "is there something we can do, as a company.' 

So he converted a plant food packet machine into a machine that takes one gallon of hand sanitizer and fills about 1,500 one-use doses.

The recipe is from the World Health Organization. It includes, among other ingredients, ethanol, alcohol and a gel, so it won't squirt out all over the place.

The company is called ShareApouch. People can buy 100 packets for $10 and for every 100 sold, he donates 100 to Nashville's first responders, such as the Metro Police Department.

"It's not a profit center for us. The idea is to be able to help control and just try to make a difference in this pandemic," he said.

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