PVC Reuse: The Seed of Urban Agriculture

03 Sep 2018

In Aarhus, the second largest city in Denmark, potatoes, herbs and tomatoes grow in large PVC pipes. The scene is a VinylPlus®-supported project, that aims to establish sustainable food production with reused PVC building waste.

Urbanisation has highlighted a forthcoming, major challenge: how can we sustainably provide food to growing cities? We find an answer in urban agriculture. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that today, 800 million people worldwide have taken on this innovative form of local food production. Its advantages could be cause for its popular use. Transport, packaging and land-use is minimised, which has a positive impact on the Earth’s climate. Growing one’s own produce also helps low-income urban residents save money on food purchases.

At the root of urban agriculture lies rigid PVC building waste. Discarded pipes and gutters are readily available and free worldwide, and PVC’s unsurpassed durability, water suitability and light weight have made it the material of choice for the do-it-yourself crowd and professional urban farms. For years, creative ideas combining crops and PVC building waste have sprouted across the globe: Lyon’s ReFarmers grow vegetables using PVC for high-end European restaurants, and the Brussels-based project, Aquaponiris, uses PVC pipes to combine growing vegetables and fish farming in a self-sufficient system

With VinylPlus’ support, the Urban Agriculture project has taken off. It investigates urban agriculture prototypes that reuse PVC construction waste, and whether a systematic use of them is possible. To read more about this project, visit http://wonderfulvinyl.pvc.org/en/