We can all agree, the last few years saw some shocking global weather events. Regardless of politics or even your stance on climate change, we think it’s safe to say we have some cleaning up to do. We can start by recycling more, reusing old items, reducing waste and using products that are better for the environment. At Horkans, one of our favourite eco-friendly products is the Vegepod, a self-watering, raised garden bed.
It’s time for us to start shouting out from the rooftops about how Vegepods are helping to save the planet! We write this blog with the hope that it inspires people everywhere to begin or continue green initiatives and to realise our environmental credentials.
Here at Horkans, we care about the environment and take steps to make the world a cleaner, greener place:
- Energy efficient light bulbs are used in store.
- We no longer print receipts automatically in order to conserve paper.
- We always recycle our cardboard boxes for deliveries.
- At till areas we have both a recycling and a general waste bin.
- We are members of recycling company Repak.
We know that every step taken, no matter how small, contributes to a better environment.
The Vegepod has had such a great net positive effect on the environment and here's how:
Making It Easy to #GrowYourFood
“Of all individual human efforts to help the environment, it is unbeatable to grow food in your own backyard, through your cities, on your roofs. It is the ABSOLUTE gold standard of emissions control.” - Eric Toensmeir, author of ‘The Carbon Farming Solution’ and Senior Researcher of ‘Project DrawDown’
First and foremost, the Vegepod has always been about helping people grow their own organic and uncontaminated food at home. The Vegepod reduces our amount of transport miles as we can get our veggies right at our doorstep! Growing your own fruits and vegetables in the Vegepod means that you are reducing the amount of single use plastic food packaging. At Horkans, we think that the Vegepod is exactly the solution Eric is referring to above.
That in itself should be enough, but apart from our user-friendly #growyourfood beds, we also think Vegepod as a product has a great environmental score. Now some of you may be looking at the Vegepod and thinking 'Really? Ain’t the plastic components bad?’
In fact, no. And the reasons are as follows:
- The Vegepod’s beds are UV stabilised, extremely strong and durable, and last up to ten years and counting - this means a much lower carbon footprint than most other timber and iron beds.
- By contrast, timber beds often rot and deteriorate beyond effective use within their first two years and then need replacing (if they don’t break down, then it’s often because the timber is treated, which makes them a bad choice anyway).
Let’s drill down to the processes that have to be repeated e.g. every two years, to replace rotting beds:
- Firstly, there’s energy required in feeding quick-growth timber plantation trees.
- Someone has to chainsaw down the trees which leads to an increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
- Cranes must then be used to place the timber in fossil-fuel burning trucks to transport to the mill.
- There’s processing the timber at the mill.
- Packaging again into saleable products.
- Putting them on to trucks again (often putting on to fossil-fuel burning cargo ships for shipment overseas).
- Putting them into stores where customers then transport the package back home and rebuild etc.
The carbon footprint of all transport miles, let alone all the processing footprints, for ongoing replacements is truly huge.
Following on from the above, some have expressed concern that indeed perhaps the Vegepods plastic bases last too long and could be bad for the environment since they do not break down. We are pleased to note here that Vegepods do not use single-use plastic and every part of the Pod is 100% recyclable. It can be put back into the system via the normal recycling avenues available to all households today.
The plastic bed materials are all certifiably food safe. They are BPA free, Grade 5 and non-leaching. This cannot be said for many treated timbers, iron beds or even upcycled materials such as foam boxes, tyres and other plastic containers. In fact, this is also the reason why the Vegepod isn't made from recycled plastic. Many often assume recycled plastic is the best option, but due to the myriad of unknown plastics that go into each and every batch, one cannot certify food-safety. Recycled plastics are great for making decks and furniture but not for food growing containers.
Due to our Vegepod wicking bed bases, we recorded up to 80% less water usage compared to standard gardens. Here at Horkans, we've noticed how gardeners can waste so much water by overwatering their plants and crops. The Vegepod can hold up to 32 litres of water in its base, you can go weeks without having to worry about watering your plants. Ditch that common garden hose and join us in saving water with the Vegepod.
Less Need for Herbicides or Pesticides
The Vegepod utilises a super fine mesh cover - this means our plants are protected from weeds and pests, meaning there’s no need for harmful herbicides and pesticides. Not only is this saving you money, but it's also saving the environment! The mesh canopy does all the protection work, allowing you to grow all your fruits and vegetables organically!
The super-fine, tightly fitted mesh holes also mean there is no danger to the wellbeing of larger pests such as birds, bats or mammals that often get caught up in the typical loose-draped exclusion netting (and with larger clumsy holes).
So, is the Vegepod a 'Sustainable Product'?
Yes, most definitely. In today’s complicated world, sustainability is not so simple as ‘it uses natural materials’. It’s about looking at the net-positive effect a product has on the world and the people in it. How many times will people use the product? Does the product encourage positive outcomes? Are the materials recyclable? As we stated in the beginning, we're by no means perfect but we’re also taking real action towards long-term solutions for reducing our own carbon footprint as well as our customers.
Here at Horkans we’re proud of where we’ve come from and where we’re going. We’re excited to see the #growyourfood movement thrive and continue to be a part of that.