In its first quarter of operation, the sustainable organics program undertaken by Houweling's Nurseries and Agromin has diverted 2,156 tons of organic material from Houweling's greenhouse operations in Camarillo to Agromin's renewable organics center in Oxnard where it was recycled into compost, mulch and soil amendments.
From January 1 through March 31, 2011, Agromin processed leaves, vines, coco fiber and tomatoes from Houweling's, which produces hydroponically-grown, handpicked "tomatoes on the vine," beefsteak tomatoes, other specialty tomato varieties, as well as seedless cucumbers. Houweling's grows its tomatoes and cucumbers hydroponically in greenhouses on more than 124 acres. Products are sold at Costco, Vons, Ralphs, Bristol Farms, Fresh & Easy and other outlets.
The 2,156 tons of waste would have otherwise found its way into landfills. By processing the materials into soil amendments that are then used locally by farmers, landscapers and gardeners, 367 tons of methane were kept from entering the atmosphere (an equivalent of 6,992 tons of CO2 emissions).
"To put it into perspective," says Bill Camarillo, CEO of Agromin, "the avoided emissions were equivalent to the greenhouse gas produced from 1,371 passenger vehicles and the CO2 emissions from the electricity used by 849 homes for one year."
The sustainable organics program is part of Houweling's efforts to become a zero waste company. In addition to repurposing its organic materials, the company uses solar energy and thermal heat collecting to provide sustainable energy and heat. Its water recirculation system recaptures, filters and re-circulates its water.
"From our perspective," says Brian Beggs, Business Development Director of Houweling’s, "the most important thing is for us to do everything we can to be good stewards of the environment. Our relationship with Agromin is critical to helping us accomplish that goal."
Labels: Agromin, Camarillo, green materials recycling, Houwelings, hydroponics, landfill, mulch, organics, sustainable organics program, tomatoes