Not only does Solan grow a lot of green, it is very conscious of it’s impact on the environment!
We continually aim to minimize waste to landfill by recycling wherever possible and implementing new technologies to improve efficiencies and reduce resources to achieve this.
Some of the ways in which we are doing this are:
Offsetting cool room power requirements with a solar system. Excess power generated from the solar panels is used to offset the the greenhouse and tissue culture laboratory power requirements.
Condensation which forms on the condensers in the cool room is now collected in a holding tank. This is then filtered and reused to feed back into the humidifiers located within in the cool room.
Converting the irrigation system from overhead sprinklers to drip irrigation has reduces water consumption, provides better management in targeting crop requirements more efficiently as well as eliminating over spray to the floor below. This has resulted in overall improved plant growth, eliminated algae growth on the floor and reduced cleaning time as we rotate to crop from to another.
The bulk bags we receive the potting media in are unable to be returned to the place of purchase however these are now taken by a poultry enterprise for use in their facility. We no longer send the bulk of the used bags to landfill and the poultry enterprise no longer has to purchase new bags. Community gardening groups are now requesting emptied bulk bags for use in their systems.
Potting Mix is retained through the harvesting procedure and either bagged into 20 L plastic bags or returned into the bulk bags it was originally delivered in. This product is then recycled by members of the community in their own gardens or purchased by companies for use in projects such as vertical gardens for the home, office and commercial premises. Community gardens also use this mix in their garden beds. The time the potting mix has been used for is only a couple of months therefore is excellent for reuse.
Solan has an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system implemented within the greenhouse. This continues to be very successful, is environmentally friendly and safe for staff. Each week during the growing season a range of beneficial insects are delivered direct to the Solan site to be dispersed amongst the growing crop. The beneficials target pests living within the canopy and below the soil surface through parasitism or as a food source. On rare occasions we apply what we term soft chemicals that have a low toxicity, to control a pest where populations have not been controlled fully by released predators. These soft chemicals do not upset the beneficial insects that have been released which enables them to continue to do their work protecting the crop from possible undesirable pest incursions.
Recycling of tissue culture vessels and vials that have reached their useful for the needs in the laboratory are taken by local schools and kindergartens to be re purposed.
All rainwater runoff from the sheds and greenhouses is collected in tanks and reused onsite for irrigation.
Irrigation water to the growing crop is treated not with chemicals such as chlorine based products but through a silver system whereby water passes over silver rods embedded into a pod which receives an electrical current. Through electrolysis silver ions are released into the water and upon oxidation sanitizes pathogens in the water. This is a system used to provide clean drinking water in many parts of the world and is a safe option for treating of Solan’s water.
Reuse of plastic production pots reduces the volume of plastic sent to landfill in the production nursery. Solan has been recycling the same pots only purchasing new pots as the old ones come to the end of their working life as opposed to a one use disposable option that would be thrown away at the end of a plants life. Pots are put through a washing system and cleaning solution within the greenhouse and stored until required again for use.