Here at Bob's Market & Greenhouses, we are committed to creating an eco-friendly production process. Most of the plants that we sell at our markets are locally grown to reduce emissions during transport, but this is just one of several ways that we are striving to be good stewards of the earth.
GROWING A GREENER “SOIL”
The soil we use to grow our plants isn’t soil at all. It is what our industry refers to as a “soilless growing media”. At Bob’s, we have our own custom-designed facility to produce exact recipes of growing mix. The three main ingredients of our growing mix are Canadian sphagnum peat moss, parboiled rice hulls, and composted pine bark.
Canada has over 270 million acres of peat bogs which produce peat moss. Each year the peat moss industry harvests only 40,000 acres of peat moss mostly for horticultural use. If you do the math that comes to one of every 6,000 acres of peat moss is harvested each year. And here is the best part, peat bogs are living entities. The peat bogs grow 70% more peat moss each year than is harvested. With that data, we believe peat is definitely a renewable resource.
Parboiled Rice Hulls (PBH) are a byproduct of the rice growing industry and are a readily available renewable resource. PBH, naturally, is biodegradable and, from our perspective, has the right physical size, shape and bulking properties to produce optimum air-filled pore space, water-holding capacity and drainage. Furthermore, PBH has properties that allows us to use less water. This also reduces fungus and pest problems in the greenhouse allowing for fewer fungicide and pesticide applications.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary gas responsible for climate change produced by modern technology. Plants naturally remove CO2 from the atmosphere by the process of photosynthesis. By producing the beautiful plants that we all enjoy, we are also offsetting our own carbon emissions created during the production process.
To further reduce our emissions, we have replaced many of our natural gas heaters with high efficient models that reclaim heat from the exhaust to make them 93% efficient. We have also installed heated floors in our newest greenhouses. By trapping and storing heat in the concrete floor, these newer greenhouses are much more efficient. Heated floors also eliminate the need for some seedlings to spend time in our germination rooms. This allows for less transportation of seedlings through the greenhouse which, in turn, saves energy and labor.
Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting technology is further reducing our energy usage. We are currently experimenting with a number of light manufacturers to find the lights that best fit our growing needs. LED lights are approximately 75% more efficient than the high pressure sodium lights we have relied on for decades.
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE
Here at Bob's we try to let nothing go to waste. One of the by-products of our production process is used growing media. It seems like we would have trouble disposing of this, but many of our employees are avid gardeners themselves. They “recycle” all of our used growing media at home in their own flower beds and gardens making beautiful, rich soil!
Like any business, we rely on both cardboard boxes and tons of paperwork. From boxes that seed, plant cuttings, and other supplies arrive in to sticky notes, inventory reports, and boring government paperwork, we are proud to say we recycle 100% of our cardboard and waste paper.
Each year we use nearly 1,000,000 plastic containers! If laid end-to-end, one year's worth of containers would stretch from our corporate headquarters in Mason, WV to our store in Atlanta, GA! To prevent this from going to landfills, we reuse or recycle all of our old plastic containers, cardboard, and many other materials. We would like to invite you to do the same. You can now bring any of your empty plastic containers back to your local Bob's Market for free recycling!