A lot of people who buy Vegepods ask about the polypropylene plastic used in the garden cover and container. Why is plastic necessary? Wouldn't it be more sustainable to use or timber or even corrugated iron frame?
We do get some flack for our plastic pods but in our opinion, it's actually much more sustainable long-term to assemble a raised garden bed from recyclable plastic than timber or corrugated iron. Here's why!
What Is Sustainability?
Some may consider sustainability using all natural materials but we have a larger view than that. For us, sustainability is when people want to grow veggies at home, foregoing plastic packaging and mass farming for many years to come. With this in mind, the Vegeopd is created to last around ten years, see our blog post 'Eco-friendly Garden Beds That Last 10 Years?! It's Possible...' if you don't believe us!
Whereas timber raised garden beds will only last five to seven years, we're looking at a long-term game when it comes to home gardening. And our view is backed up by data! A recent study from The Australia Institute found failed first attempts were a significant barrier to home gardening. The lesson? If we want people to grow veggies and create a happier, healthier Earth, we must make it easy.
If sustainability is a question of the product’s overall effect – not just an initial footprint - are our plastic pods user-friendly, durable AND eco-friendly? You betcha.
Resistant to rot, insect damage, UV and moisture, our container raised garden beds are durable and easy to maintain! Similarly, our eco-climate covers help manage the plant microclimate by allowing air, water, and sunlight to filter through, but not insects or larger animals - making growing plants a breeze.
With a foot of soil space, half the potting mix is required (as compared to a timber or corrugated iron raised bed of the same dimensions). This makes transport and maintenance of the bed much easier and lighter.
Lastly, our container raised garden beds are self-watering. The container uses wicking and nutrient recycling systems so plants can last weeks without water. Compared to standard timber and iron raised beds, they reduce water by up to 80%.
As we mentioned before, once the Vegepod's life is over the eco cover and plastic container is 100% recyclable! We're also working on creating containers that are made from recyclable materials, although as of right now we haven't yet found a supplier who can provide us a food safe recyclable plastic.
Because our containers are durable and designed for optimal plant growth, a Vegepod can have a 7 to 10-year lifespan! That's 7 to 10 years of organic results! Most untreated timbers last longer an average of 2 - 5 years before rotting and breaking down. The impact of such timber production, the repeated timber growing, harvesting and rebuilds would make an interesting study when compared to a one-off plastic container that lasts up to 10 years.
Does Natural = Sustainable?
You may be wondering, what about treated timber? However, treated timber is not necessarily 'food safe' with plants being able to absorb chemicals used to treat. This also makes treated timber a bad candidate for recycling. There's a carbon footprint as well created by using treated timber. Corrugated irons similarly eventually rust and break down, leaching harmful chemicals into the soil and are no better in their carbon footprint.
So there you have it! When it's all said and done, we think our polypropylene Pods are safer, more durable, friendlier way to garden and therefore, long-term, a more sustainable home gardening solution. But we want to know your opinion! Do you think untreated timber beds are the more sustainable option? Let us know why in the comments down below, we welcome all feedback and thoughts.