Recycling is an excellent way of saving energy and conserving the environment. It is one of the best ways for you to have a positive impact on the world in which we live. Recycling is important to both the natural environment and us.
Recycling is very important as waste has a huge negative impact on the natural environment. Harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses are released from rubbish in landfill sites. Recycling helps to reduce the pollution caused by waste.
Habitat destruction and global warming are some of the effects caused by deforestation. Recycling reduces the need for raw materials so that the rainforests can be preserved. Huge amounts of energy are used when making products from raw materials. Recycling requires much less energy and therefore helps to preserve natural resources.
What does Horticap Recycle?
Recycling is important to us at Horticap and we all like to take part and do our bit! At Horticap we have many different things that we recycle, among these are:
We have waste bins in the greenhouses that we fill with cuttings, cut grass, left over compost, and old dead plants. These all eventually get emptied into our compost heaps, which eventually over time get composted down. This can then be re used as a garden mulch / soil improver. We produce about 12 cubic metres each year. That’s two large full skips not going to landfill.
On site we have four large water tanks. These collect rainwater. Between them they hold around 30,000 gallons, that’s over 112,000 litres. We recycle this water, using it for our watering systems in the greenhouses, and in our gardens to water plants. This water is also used to flush our toilets and to clean vehicles and equipment. This saves the use of well over 1,120,000 litres of treated drinking water each year. That’s the same as the annual water used by 5 average households, enough water for 5600 baths or 22,400 showers.
- Plant Pots:
We always re-use any plant pots that we have used. The students carefully remove any labels, clean and sort all of these for us to re-use.
We have lots of different methods when it comes to recycling wood. Local tree surgeons and other trade gardeners bring us piles and piles of woodchip and logs, we use these to sell on to customers and around our site, we also use these when we go out on jobs in the community. We make bird tables and birdhouses from left over wood, we make other wooden craft items to sell in our shop. We also make our own charcoal from small logs; we sell this in the shop. In the future we would like to use wood to heat our large greenhouse.
- Food Waste:
In our mess room we have a food compost bin. We compost many waste items such as teabags, banana skin, apple peel, orange peel, and plain paper.
- Plastic Bags:
We get our compost in large plastic bags; we use the compost around the site and on jobs and this leaves lots of empty plastic bags. We reuse these by filling the bags with things like wood chip, horse manure and our own compost for customers to purchase. Our shop has now started to use paper bags in place of plastic.
- Old Clothes:
We cut up old clothes into strips. We can then make rag rugs, wreaths and swags. These look fantastic and sell very well in our shop.
Working with local businesses
Betty’s and Taylors do a lot for recycling in the community and at Horticap. They arranged for most of our students to have a tour around the Taylors factory and around the cone exchange. This enabled us to find out where the things we recycle from Taylors come from and what they’re used for. We found out about our hessian sacks, the cones we used for Christmas decorations, the buckets we use and we even found a use for our white coats and hats!
Again working along side Betty’s and Taylors, we are in the process of testing their factory white coats and hats for frost proofing. They are made from a similar material to the horticultural fleece you buy in the shops. We believe we can make our own frost proofing from these to use around Horticap and to sell in our shop. We’ll keep you updated on our progress with this exciting new “reusable”.
Alongside our re-use and recycling we constantly look to ways of reducing the energy we use on the site. We have achieved this in many ways:
- Insulation of buildings
- More efficient heating systems
- Installing timers on heating systems
- Thermal screens in the greenhouse
- Self closing doors
- Moving plants to one greenhouse over winter and turning off the heaters in the others
- Turning down thermostats
These measures have reduced our combined consumption of oil, gas and electric by around 50% – 60% each year.