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Determining biocontainers' carbon footprint
Date:4/28/2014

assessments for greenhouse petunia production. The impacts were presented in terms of contribution to the carbon footprint or global warming potential (GWP) of a single finished plant in a 10-cm-diameter container.

Results showed that a traditional plastic container accounts for approximately 16% of overall carbon dioxide equivalents emissions during petunia production. However, electrical consumption for supplemental lighting and irrigation during plug production proved to be the leading source of CO2e emissions (more than 47%) in the model system. Differences in GWP when considering secondary impacts associated with the various biocontainers were minor, especially when compared with the other elements of production.

The researchers said that their results demonstrate that biocontainers could potentially be as sustainable as, or more sustainable, than plastic pots "once pot manufacturing and end-of-life data are considered". They emphasized that use of more efficient supplemental lighting sources may ultimately have the greatest impact on overall global warming potential for the production system assessed.

"Although biocontainers have been linked to reduced performance in plant growth, filling speed, shipping success, and irrigation demand trials, these differences do not have a dramatic effect on production sustainability from a global warming potential perspective," said the authors. "These results should be encouraging for growers and manufacturers looking to increase sustainability through the use and development of biocontainers."


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Contact: Michael W. Neff
mwneff@ashs.org
703-836-4606
American Society for Horticultural Science
Source:Eurekalert

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