How can greenhouse horticulture become a circular sector?

Published on
June 25, 2020

How can greenhouse horticulture be transformed into a circular sector that reuses materials and resources? Business Unit Greenhouse Horticulture and Flower Bulbs of Wageningen University & Research is trying to answer this question. Therefore potential solutions will be tested in a Fieldlab. The first companies that want to participate have already registered.

The term 'Circular economy' is relatively young: McKinsey first defined this in 2012. But nowadays everyone is aware that the reuse of raw materials and resources is necessary. It is expected that 'circular production' will soon be the standard for all sectors.

Greenhouse horticulture is already strong in the efficient and clean use of raw materials and resources. However, circular production requires additional solutions in certain areas. Part of this is already being worked on. For example, the project Glastuinbouw Waterproof focuses on a (virtually) zero emission of fertilizers and plant protection products by means of a water cycle closure at company level or area level.

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Circular horticulture

Existing and new solutions

In the coming years, WUR will investigate what is needed in the field of plastics, peat, energy, fertilizers and water, among others. To do this, WUR first maps out how much of these raw materials horticulture uses, and how many of them leave the sector. This therefore provides a picture of the 'metabolism' of horticulture.

A number of bottlenecks arise from this analysis. WUR is looking for existing and new solutions for these bottlenecks. This will lead to a clear vision for the future: how can greenhouse horticulture become circular, so how can the sector produce efficiently, cleanly and connected with other agricultural production systems and other systems?

New and existing solutions will be tested in a new Fieldlab. Recently, WUR placed an advertisement for horticultural suppliers to participate in this Fieldlab; this resulted in a stream of applications.

The project 'Circular Horticulture 2030' project is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and is financed by the Ministry of Agriculture.‚Äč