Sustainability 101: How We Prioritize Our Planet When Growing Your Plants
The Earth is important to us here at Max & Miles and we want our plants to not only make it a more beautiful place, but a more sustainable one too. When it comes to growing your plants, we take being sustainable very seriously, prioritizing reuse and recycling wherever possible.
Some of the most important things in our greenhouses are water and heat, to keep the plants in a stable environment with the nutrients they need. We could use water from the area we’re located in and use gas or electricity to heat the greenhouses, but instead, we take a much greener approach.
First, for some understanding, our greenhouses are located here in the U.S. That means we get can some extreme temperatures in the winter, which aren’t feasible for all of our plants to handle. That means we must heat our greenhouses, over 150 acres of them, throughout the winter.
This is done through a process using wood boilers, which were installed in 2009. Not only do they heat our greenhouses, but also our office! During the winter, more than 25 semi-loads of wood chips are burned each day to keep those spaces warm. One question you may have, where does that wood come from? We aren’t cutting down any trees because that wouldn’t be very sustainable of us. Instead, we use broken palates, broken tree limbs, and other wood debris that would otherwise go to waste or landfill from the cities and counties around us.
Heat generated by the boilers is used to heat water in two water holding towers. The hot water is piped throughout our facility to provide heating as necessary. The water towers retain heat, so we have a ready supply of energy to quickly react to sudden cold temperatures. One of the towers holds 1 million gallons of water and the other holds 800,000 gallons. Our employees can monitor the boilers and the water towers to ensure maximum operating efficiency.
The sustainability doesn’t stop at collecting the wood though. Our wood boilers’ high efficiency combined with air filtration that exceeds government standards is what allows our only heating related emissions to be dry warm air. We ionize micro ash particles so that they adhere to each other, become heavy enough to sink down in air instead of float, and fall into a filter rather than be released into the air. Our boilers put less ash into the air than your average campfire! Once it’s burned, the ash is collected and compressed, which is then offered to local farmers to use as fertilizer or within pot soil. We work daily to decrease our waste, using the most of everything.
Next is water, which we all know is essential for all plants. Again, we could tap into our local city and county for this, but not only would that take away from homeowners and businesses, but it wouldn’t be very green. Instead, we collect rainwater all year long in the several retention ponds located on our property.
For every inch of rainfall, we are collecting 4 million gallons of water, which ends up being close to 155 million gallons each year!
After we collect that water, it’s used in a 100% self-contained irrigation system, keeping your plants hydrated during their time with us.
We want to reduce our carbon footprint and are striving to do that every single day. Using sustainable practices in heating and watering, we are reducing our emissions. We’ve also dramatically reduced our plastic usage by recycling our growing trays and switching to vacuum-formed pots over injection-molded ones.
Bringing you gorgeous plants to decorate your home and give as gifts is our number 1 goal, but we don’t want to sacrifice sustainability in our efforts to do that. Protecting our planet for years to come is essential and we are working to do better every day!
Let us know what sustainable practices you’re interested in and find us on social to share, we’d love to chat.