Why the Circular Economy Matters For Your Greenhouse
Published On: February 27th, 2023
The classic value chain shows resources flowing in one direction. Raw materials are created and sold to manufacturers, who then sell to retailers and finally to customers who use and then dispose of products. Not only is this value chain unsustainable with the amount of waste created, but it also negatively impacts the environment and our health.
In 2021, it is estimated that only 5%-6% of used plastic was recycled. In the U.S. alone, about 38 million tons of plastic went to landfills. Generating this amount of trash annually desecrates the earth and leads to further pollution as more and more plastic is manufactured.
Today, many organizations are joining the circular economy, which modifies the classic value chain to reduce waste and conserve resources. For horticulturalists and growers, joining the circular economy is imperative. Read on to learn what you need to know for the sake of your greenhouse.
What is the circular economy?
The circular economy is all about improving sustainability – reducing waste, emissions, and resources, saving energy, and more.
In the circular economy, customers reuse and recycle products. Some products can be used for a longer lifecycle or repurposed for other uses, while others can be recycled as raw material for other products. Circular economy organizations also focus on precision, meaning using the least amount of water, fertilizer, and energy required for optimal yield.
Products may also be made lighter-weight and packaged in recycled materials. The circular economy also includes using more efficient transportation, such as combining products into single deliveries.
By joining the circular economy, businesses and consumers can contribute to a more sustainable future, protect the earth, and improve their business.
The circular economy and your greenhouse
Horticulture and agriculture are two of the most important industries for the circular economy. Agriculture itself has major impacts on the environment by creating greenhouse gas emissions, high water usage, and chemical pollution. These consequences, in turn, also negatively affect agricultural output. By focusing on sustainability in your greenhouse, not only can you reduce your environmental impact, but you can also improve your own operation.
Here are several reasons why joining the circular economy is important for your greenhouse.
Agriculture ventures produce significant waste, including vines at the end of the season, unabsorbed water, and clips and accessories that aided in growth during the planting season. Instead of disposing of this waste, much of it can be reused, recycled, or repurposed to reduce the amount of waste created by your greenhouse.
There are many ways that the circular economy can help you lower your costs.
Electricity: Set up your greenhouse to take advantage of natural light by cleaning glass and changing your opaque plastic film often and you can reduce the amount of energy you use in your greenhouse for heating and lighting.
Labor: Using biodegradable products means spending less time removing plastic products at the end of the season. This saves significant time and labor costs.
Inputs: Don’t waste products that can be collected and reused. This improves your efficiency and saves you from re-purchasing products.
Improve crop quality
Adopting sustainable practices in your greenhouse can even improve crop quality. For example, using organic waste for fertilizer instead of chemical fertilizer can significantly improve the quality of soil, making it riches for your crops.
Circularity in agriculture also requires rotating crops and even “intercropping” (planting multiple crops together), two practices that can lead to higher yield and better-quality crops.
How to join the circular economy
If you want your greenhouse to benefit from the circular economy, there are a few simple things you can do to get started.
Implement closed-loop water systems: This will ensure that water does not leak or go to waste. Instead, water will be reused throughout your system, both reducing waste and saving money.
Use LED lighting and intelligent temperature control: Rather than wasting energy on inefficient lighting or excessive heating, use smart products to ensure you minimize the amount of energy you need.
Use biodegradable accessories: Whenever possible, use biodegradable products rather than plastic to reduce your waste.
Be aware of plastics: If you’re using plastics, use lightweight products and be sure to deposit them at recycling plants after use.
Alternatives to plastic
Plastic has been carefully developed to optimize mechanical properties and increase durability. This is great for customers, but also bad for the planet. Many greenhouse products and accessories are made of polyethylene &polypropylene plastics. Sometimes these materials are necessary. If you’re using plastic, be sure to collect and recycle them at the end of the season. For these purposes, Paskal has created many food-safe products that use minimal raw materials.
Paskal also offers many innovative biodegradable products from plastic alternative materials. Our biodegradable clips, arches, trusses, and twine have been engineered for strength and reliability while ensuring they meet the quality standards to support healthy plant growth and comply with EN13432. This means they are compostable and can be used to fertilize your plants next season.
If you’re interested in learning more about Paskal’s range of products and how they can help you benefit from joining the circular economy, contact us today.
If you like this article you would be interested in reading the following articles: