Coir etc
Sun, 04 Jan 2009 13:26:11 PST
Arnold you are quite right in one sense as to whether it is best to use it or loose it. However it isn't as simple as that as Diane has illustrated to a good degree. One thing we do know is this material is not dumped in the sea as you feel might happen to it, that requires hard work, nobody gets paid to do it and why bother when they can and do use it in numerous ways as Diane has pointed out. In the final analysis this material is virtually useless for horticulture but fairly bumps up some firm's bank balances while customers can still be persuaded of its wondrous properties, until they work it out for themselves.

We researched this very thoroughly as there was a great 'movement' so to speak in the early 90's however it became abundantly clear, aside from the huge carbon deficit in respect of shipping that there was the other issue just as important, namely we in the wealthy west were abstracting not just the nutrients from tropical soils but also as badly needed as that is everywhere, the humus lost following no return of the bye products to their own local nutrient cycle, so it seems to me personally. This is in my humble opinion one less extractive "process" we don't need and these folks are better off without. This same 'movement' pilloried people for using peat extracted from bogs which here in northern Europe we are producing substantially annually more than is used for agriculture, horticulture or heat generation combined. Peat used in the production of annual plants is an audit carbon deficit and clearly unacceptable, however when used for growing shrubs, trees and other perennial plants the carbon sequestered by the latter vastly exceeds the carbon released by mining peat bogs.

Leaving aside the moral aspect as well as the financial, growing plants in this material is a no-brianer when in the northern hemisphere we have ample and better alternatives as well as no risk from the introduction of pest species, insects, fungi and virus. A little more self reliance and increasing our awareness of nutrient cycles appropriate to this hemisphere's soils is slowly but surely shifting folk's assessments of what they do and should do. Just five years ago our local government collected household waste and dumped 100% into landfill, now we recycle everything, plastic, glass and green waste separately yet we are still behind the curve with some other areas which are converting waste into heat, novel for us, but standard for the Scandinavians e.g.

A big subject with plenty of heat and not so much light from time to time. I hope I have not offended either Arnold any one else.


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