Costa Farms’ Sustainability Commitment

Costa Farms’ Sustainability Commitment

Costa Farms is passionate about plants. As one of the largest plant growers, we’re also passionate about the planet.
Costa Farms is passionate about plants. As one of the largest plant growers in North America, we’re also passionate about the planet. The connection between what we grow and how we grow is integral. Through green production techniques, recycling, and solar energy, Costa Farms reduces its impact on the environment as we grow plants for the homes and gardens of our eco-conscious plant lovers.

Harnessing the Sun
The sun’s nurturing rays grow our plants. And they also power our headquarters. Twenty six percent of the energy used by our offices in Miami, Florida come from solar panels. These panels produce 1,710,413 kwh/year, which is enough to power 155 houses for a full year. That means that our solar energy use cuts emissions by 1,209 metric tons of CO2 a year. We are continually testing production methods that lower our impact. That’s some sunny news.

Recycling Materials
As you might expect, growing plants uses lots of materials – paper, plastic, and more. Our company-wide recycling programs are a big part of our green philosophy. For example, in 2021, we recycled 2,209 tons of plastic (pots, trays), which is equal to 78.2 million 16-ounce plastic bottles. (Many of our retailer partners will take plastic nursery pots back after you’re done with them so we can pick them up and recycle them.)

In addition to plastic, we’re also actively working on reducing our footprint with equipment. Our E-Waste Program recycled 10,422 pounds of electronic equipment, reducing landfill waste by 94%. Since the inception of our E-Waste Program, we have recycled 15,980 pounds of electronic equipment, reducing landfill waste by 94%. And because transporting plants is a big part of our business, we repurpose motor vehicle and fleet waste into lubricants and asphalt. Last year, we recycled 52,640 lbs of tires, diverted 1,250 lbs of oil filters from going into the landfill, and recycled 1,882 gallons of spent oil (incinerated for energy). We continue to pursue ways to reduce waste, especially plastics. 

Formulating Earth-friendly Soil Alternatives
Our plants grow in sustainability! More than 80 percent of our potting mix comes from coconut coir, a natural material made from the byproduct of coconut husks. This mixture has excellent moisture retention, which also saves water. Plus, coir is naturally resistant to pests. Costa Farms has been using coconut coir in our potting mix since 2010, replacing peat moss which takes a lifetime to regenerate. Read more about coir here. We also incorporate a shredded wood product, sourced from the Southeastern United States, which is a byproduct of the lumber industry, to increase drainage and aeration with the coir.

Using Beneficial Insects
The good bugs eat the bad bugs: It sounds like the stuff of horror films. But biological controls (the good bugs) are part of Costa Farms’ Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system, which is an ecosystem-based pest prevention program. Biologicals (aka beneficial insects, such as lady bugs) help control outbreaks of pests without the use of chemicals.

At one of our farms, we’ve been able to reduce chemical sprays by more than 50 percent! Because of the success we’re seeing with many biological organisms, we’re starting to raise our own “crops” of beneficials on our farms. Bonus: We’re also seeing more native beneficial insects from areas around our farms helping out our plants!

Company-wide, our IPM team is up to 80 people, some 60 of which are crop scouts who are dedicated to walking the crops looking for early signs of infection or infestation so we can spot-treat, release beneficials on a small scale rather than treating a whole crop.

Proving Sustainability

We believe in transparency, so Costa Farms participates in the MPS-ABC certification process. The MPS (More Profitable Sustainability) certification allows Costa Farms to provide proof to customers (through third-party verification) that we are a green company.

Read more about our commitment to sustainability. 

Written by Karen Weir-Jimerson