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Gel substrate
Single use substrate
single use substrate


Greenhouse farm


Single use substrate waste

The challenges of single-use substrate in Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA)

1. Resource Intensity:

​​​Production of substrates like peat, coconut coir, or rockwool demands extensive water and energy, contributing to a significant environmental footprint. Reusability reduces resource consumption.


2. Environmental Impact:

Many organic substrates lead to deforestation and the loss of valuable ecosystems. Additionally, emissions from global distribution and packaging hinder sustainability goals. Reusing products minimises environmental harm and safeguards biodiverse landscapes, which are often vital carbon sinks.

  1. 3. Waste Generation:

  2. Single-use substrates result in substantial waste after each crop cycle, often discarded in landfills or incinerated. Substrates are challenging to separate from plants, leading to waste. Extensive packaging adds to the waste problem. Reusable alternatives reduce environmental harm and waste.

4. Cost:

Purchasing and replacing substrates present ongoing expenses for indoor farmers, with costs continually rising. Reusable options offer more cost-effective solutions.

5. Nutrient Management:

Achieving the right nutrient balance in substrates can be complex. Reusables simplify nutrient management, potentially enhancing plant growth. As our technology does not hold moisture like spongey single-use substrate, you can feed plants exactly what they need. 

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6. Disease and Pest Control:

Substrates can harbor diseases and pests, complicating indoor pest management. Reusable superstructures help prevent these issues.

7. Supply Chain Reliance:

Current farms heavily depend on incoming substrates, posing challenges in remote areas. Reusable products provide operational security.

8. Water Management:

Substrates require precise water management, with deviations leading to root diseases or nutrient imbalances. Reusable superstructures improve water use efficiency and reduce nutrient waste.

9. Cleaning:


Cleaning efforts contribute to contamination, water usage, and labor issues. Reusable products are designed for easy cleaning, reducing water and chemical inputs.


10. Plant Variety:

Growing companies often allocate significant R&D budgets to test various substrates for different plants. Reusable superstructures accommodate a wide range of plants using a single design.




GyroPlant is focused on providing a reusable substrate alternative with numerous positive effects for agriculture and the environment.

Let's break down the sustainable benefits :

1. Food grade Silicone Rubber


Silicone rubber does not break down into micro components like plastic, our products are 100% Silicone rubber. 

GyroSnap surface close up
Misty forrest

2. Biodiversity Protection:


Avoiding the use of materials from biodiverse-rich areas is a crucial step in preserving natural ecosystems and biodiversity.

  1. 3. Eutrophication Prevention


  3. The fact that no chemicals are required to clean GyroCups eliminates local water pollution. 


4. Hydrophobic Surface:


GyroCup's hydrophobic surface made from unique silicone material composition helps conserve water drastically compared to plastic alternatives. Reduced water use also has labor-saving benefits.

5. Ease of Growing:


Making the process of growing healthy greens, root vegetables, and berries easier is valuable for both commercial farmers and home gardeners.

6. Education:


Enabling easy-to-use hydroponic systems and lab techniques for studying plant growth can contribute to scientific research and education, promoting sustainable agriculture practices.

Person holding leafy green plant
 Leafy green plants growing in GyroCup tray

7. Reduction in Air Pollutants:


Eliminating or reducing supply chains. GyroPlant reduces nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur oxides (SOx) emissions, which contribute to air pollution and greenhouse gases from shipping and packaging supply. 

Leafy greens growing in indoor hydroponic vertical farm

8. Reduced Long-Term Costs:


Lowering the costs associated with controlled environment agriculture (CEA) and greenhouse growing makes sustainable farming more accessible and economically viable for a broader range of growers.

9. Resource Protection:


Eliminating unnecessary consumption of single-use organic materials helps conserve resources and agricultural land, which can be repurposed for other uses or left in its natural state.


These are all significant advantages that can contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly approach to agriculture. Quantifying the positive effects of our reusable substrate solution through data and research will be important in demonstrating its value to potential customers and stakeholders.

Further to our sustainability goals:


At the end of their life cycle, we encourage customers to up-cycle our products, given their diverse range of potential applications. This further contributes to carbon savings. 


For certain plants or irrigation systems, the use of water-based gels (hydrogels) within GyroCup is necessary. These gels require a small quantity of widely available gels like Agar. We utilise hydrogels only minimally for germination, and their carbon impact is factored into our LCA calculator. See below more more information. 

If you're interested in accessing our comprehensive dataset or seeking responsible disposal options for GyroCups through our up-cycling program, please feel free to reach out to us.

Sustainability Research


An independent study by the University of East London concluded that using our reusable GyroCup with gel drops reduced carbon emissions by a minimum of 80% over a 5 year period (compared to biodegradable polymer substrates). The continuous sourcing of substrate, packaging and transport leads to high carbon footprints and the destruction of delicate natural environments, including biodiverse rich forests.


To showcase commitment to sustainability, companies need to assess the overall impact of their products throughout their lifespan using a process called Life Cycle Analysis (LCA).Using our custom-designed Carbon Calculator and insights from growers, we can demonstrate the amount of carbon you can save. This helps in creating indoor farms that are exceptionally sustainable.


We conducted a comparison between GyroCup and the leading and newest substrates available in the market. Our findings reveal that compared to the next most sustainable substrate, the GyroCup can result in a reduction of carbon emissions by over 80%, and in some cases, even up to 98%.


Our LCA takes various factors into consideration, including carbon emissions from manufacturing, transportation, packaging, and product replacement. The rapid accumulation of carbon emissions occurs with single-use substrates. GyroCup's reusability significantly mitigates carbon emissions.


We're actively researching and quantifying other environmental impacts related to single-use substrates, such as deforestation and safeguarding biodiversity. While Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) provides unique opportunities for widespread food cultivation, it often relies on substrates sourced from environmentally sensitive regions. Despite the initial appearance of environmentally friendly organic substrates, there are hidden costs associated with their production. Moreover, the packaging of these substrates contributes substantial embodied carbon, sometimes exceeding that of the substrate itself!  Eliminating the need for substrates reduces carbon emissions, waste, and the ecological harm caused by material sourcing for single-use substrates.


Our products are made of silicone, sourced from silicates that comprise 95% of the Earth's crust. Similar to the concept of using a reusable metal bottle instead of a single-use plastic one, our products' extended usability is more environmentally sound when used over a period of time. Many companies when calculating their environmental impact only consider Carbon. Unfortunately this is just one of many sustainability factors to consider, and can lead to 'Carbon tunnel vision':

Carbon tunnel vision [2].

At GyroPlant we go beyond carbon emissions, having positive effects on multiple elements of the sustainability transition. Please get in touch to find out more. 

Carbon tunnel vision diagram
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GyroPlant Supporters:

CHAP logo
The Prince's Trust Logo
Young Innovators Award 2020/21 Logo
The Douglas Bomford Trust logo
Innovate UK logo
HM Government logo
European Union European Regional Development Fund logo

GB2105615.5; GB2200352.9 

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