We only have one Mother Earth, and at Metrolina Greenhouses, we are committed to doing our part to take care of her. We’ve found that the greener practices we have implemented are not only better for the Earth but they’re also good for business.
Through Metrolina’s sustainability focus, we’re going on two decades of conscientiously reducing our environmental impact. The entire Metrolina team is proud of how far we have come in working toward sustainable solutions. Sustainability continues to be a core value for our business and for our customers and end consumers. We know there’s still work to be done and we are committed to continuing our efforts to become a regenerative company.
In the early 2000s, Metrolina Greenhouses implemented a state-of-the-art water reclamation and recycling system that makes our growing operations mostly self-sufficient, with the water used to produce plants largely drawn from our innovative water system. In peak production, Metrolina Greenhouses uses up to 1 million gallons of water per day, so having our own constant supply of extremely clean and plentiful water is essential.
Through Metrolina’s extensive water system, we can collect reclaim water from weather events in our multiple retention ponds at both locations. In Huntersville, we have the capacity to hold more than 200 million gallons of water and in York, more than 85 million gallons. For every inch of rain that falls onto our campuses, we can recycle it into 6 million gallons of clean, fresh water.
Both of Metrolina’s locations utilize an ozone filtration system with 5-micron filters to clean all the reclaimed and recycled water collected in the ponds. This system oxygenates the water, turning it over six times per day to remove any potential contaminants, and then pumps clean water back into the operations’ water holding tanks, so it’s ready to be reused.
For every inch of rain that falls onto our campuses, we can recycle it into 6 million gallons of clean, fresh water.
We can hold more than 250 million gallons of water to be reused at our Huntersville location, making us self-sufficient in providing water to produce our plants.
Most of our greenhouses have implemented automatic flood floors, which means the greenhouse bays are periodically flooded, watering plants from the bottom. The benefits of this system are two-fold: It allows us to reclaim the water to be continuously cleaned and recycled, and it optimizes plant health by watering the roots and not the foliage, which mitigates disease.
We fired up our Vynke biomass boiler system from Belgium in 2009. The wood boilers cover 95% of our heating needs at the Huntersville main campus. We source the wood we use locally, from recycled wood pallets and construction and timber industry byproducts, which are then made into woodchips to feed the biomass boilers. Using reclaimed wood byproducts that would otherwise be thrown away helps the environment and boosts the local economy. Our 4-acre wood storage barn in Huntersville can hold a supply of wood chips that will last up to four weeks, depending on the weather and heating needs.
In 2010, we worked with each of our customers to implement a recycling program to prevent plastic pots and trays. Currently, Metrolina Greenhouses’ plastics recycling program reclaims, reuses or recycles 4 million pounds of plastic annually that would otherwise end up in landfills. With our plastic recycling and reuse program firmly in place, both internally and at our retail customers’ stores nationwide, we are committed to increasing that number each year.
Metrolina’s research and development team began investigating methods to reduce our chemical and pesticide use throughout the company nearly 10 years ago. In 2015, we introduced the use of biological controls, including biologically or naturally derived pesticides, beneficial insects and predatory insects (also known as good bugs) to eliminate pests (bad bugs).
A combination of strict sanitation procedures, along with the continued adoption of improved plant genetics and the use of biocontrols also helps us reduce or eliminate plant diseases, keeping our crops as healthy and productive as possible. These efforts have resulted in a 25% reduction of chemicals over the past few years. We continue to research additional ways to further reduce the use of conventional controls.
Metrolina Greenhouses has earned a number of distinctions and memberships in top-level climate-focused organizations through our sustainability efforts. Our ongoing goals are as follows:
Metrolina Greenhouses reports our environmental footprint to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), a global gold-standard, not-for-profit, environmental organization that holds the richest and most comprehensive dataset on corporate and government action. We plan to continue reporting to CDP, to strategically manage our actions, get ahead of regulatory and policy changes, identify and tackle environmental risks, find new opportunities for change and provide full transparency and accountability to our customers and communities.Read more about CDP
Metrolina Greenhouses has joined the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi), a partnership between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute and the World Wide Fund for Nature. We currently have our target carbon emissions goals under review within the SBTi. We are committed to becoming a net zero carbon company by 2050, as we strive to become a fully regenerative enterprise. Through our affiliation with the SBTi, Metrolina Greenhouses is committing to setting science-based emissions reductions targets in line with 1.5°C emissions scenarios and the criteria and recommendations of the SBTI.Read more about SBTI
Based in Brussels, Belgium, the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI) is a market-driven initiative connecting the international floriculture sector. Members, including Metrolina Greenhouses, have committed to developing best practices for sustainable floriculture and complying with the FSI scheme focused on transparency, responsible production and trade in the floriculture industry supply chain.Read more about FSI
As an internationally focused, independent third-party sustainability auditor, MPS supports horticultural entrepreneurs in their efforts to operate sustainable by providing a complete package of benchmarks to reach that will make quality and sustainability transparent, measurable and demonstrable. To date, Metrolina Greenhouses has earned B status in the MPS-ABC certification program, which means we have some improvements to achieve before we can attain the highest qualification of A+, but we are well on our way. We are committed to reporting our water, energy and control product use to this horticulturally focused sustainability organization.Read more about MPS