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Vertical Garden Carbon Footprint
The carbon emitted from your vertical garden will of course depend on a wide range of factors such as if you've chosen a living or an artificial solution. If you have chosen a living vertical garden, factors such as the type of system you have chosen to use, the type of soil used, how much water your plants require, etc will come into play. If you choose an artificial solution, carbon emissions will depend on the density of plant coverage.
We also need to take into account the transportation emissions from the delivery of your vertical garden.
It is difficult to calculate the exact emissions produced from a vertical garden, but we can break it down to give you an idea. If you are curious about the carbon emissions for vertical gardens, make sure to read on! Let's break it down into two categories, living and artificial...
Living Vertical Garden Carbon Footprint:
Depending on the vertical garden system you have chosen, you may require a steel frame. This usually consists of 4 vertical steel strips per square metre to for the pots to clip onto. Manufacturing stainless steel emits 6.15kg of carbon emissions per kilogram. This would equate to approximately 6kg of carbon per square meter for the steel frame.
Plastic Pots or Grow Felt
Most people use either plastic vertical garden pots, or vertical garden grow felt to grow their vertical garden in. All of the vertical gardening pots sold by Vertical Gardens Direct are made from recycled plastics, and our grow felt is made from 100% recycled bottles.
Estimates vary with the type of recycling process used, but researchers agree that recycling and re-manufacturing plastic saves at least 30 percent of the carbon emissions that original processing and manufacturing produces. Each kilogram of virgin plastic emits around 2.7kg of carbon, while each kilogram of recycled plastic emits around 1.89kg of carbon.
The cost per square meter will vary depending on the system used, but we estimate on average approximately 9kg of carbon per square meter for pots, and 1kg of carbon per square meter of grow felt.
Living vertical gardens require irrigation. The average vertical garden uses approximately 10 linear meters of irrigation pipe which weighs approximately 1kg. This would equate to about 1.89kg of carbon.
How often you water your vertical garden will come into account here. If using a recirculated watering system (tanks and a pump to recirculate the water from the top to the bottom of the garden), you are going to use a lot less water than if the excess water goes down the drain or into the soil bed below. A living vertical garden using 2-3 cubic meters of water annually will result in approximately 1kg of carbon emissions per year. This can be reduced with a recirculating system or by using hardy plants.
There are a range of other factors to consider when estimating the total carbon footprint of a living vertical garden, such as the amount of fertiliser used (we estimate approximately 250grams per square meter annually), the type of potting mix used, the transport to deliver your vertical garden, and of course the system you choose.
As a rough indication, we estimate that a basic vertical garden utilising a steel frame and pots made from recycled plastic will have generate approximately 20-30kg of carbon per square meter.
The cost to offset 1kg of carbon per year in Australia is approximately 2 cents per kilogram, meaning the cost to offset 1 square meter of living vertical garden is about 60 cents.
Artificial Vertical Garden Carbon Footprint:
Artificial Vertical Garden Panels
The carbon footprint per square meter of an artificial vertical garden will vary depending on the type of panel chosen. Each panel is 1 square meter.
For example, Hedge Style Panels are lighter in weight at approximately 2kg per panel and have a carbon footprint of about 5.2kg per square meter.
Vertical Garden Style Panels have more material per panel and are heavier at approximately 3.5kg per panel on average, and have a carbon footprint of about 10kg per square meter.
If we take the average weight of artificial vertical garden panels (2.75kg), then the average cost to offset 1 square meter of artificial vertical garden is about 15 cents.
It is important to note that Vertical Gardens Direct only sources ROHS compliant artificial vertical gardens. This means;
- No Lead
- No Mercury
- No Boric Acid
- No Heavy Metals in Plastics
- No Cadmium
- No Hexavalent Chromium
- No Polybrominated Biphenyls
- No Polybrominated diphenyether
Regardless of which vertical garden you choose to install, it’s important to recognise that all vertical gardens systems and installation approaches will impact the exact carbon outcomes. Consider your personal, lifestyle, and financial factors when making a decision for you.
Please be aware that the above figures are estimates only and we encourage you to do your own research before making a decision that suits you.