New organics program diverts green material

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, California 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.

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.

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.