Pumice: The Sustainable Aerator

Pumice: The Sustainable Aerator

Produced through earth and fire, pumice is a natural, sustainable, volcanic glass with amazingly versatile properties and is widely used across multiple industries. *We got the soil department on lock though*. Unlike its perlite counterpart used in most soil mixes, the refinement process of pumice does not include a large amount of heating, making its carbon footprint significantly lower. In material extraction, pumice is surface mined from deposits. Perlite, on the other hand, is strip mined, requiring deeper digging and further ecosystem destruction.

Pumice is created during an explosive volcanic eruption when small air bubbles get trapped inside the magma as it cools. This naturally occurring material is abundant throughout the US in the southwestern states and can be surface-mined, reducing the ecosystem damage and emissions generated by operating equipment necessary to dig through rock substrates. 

The purity of its origin results in a unique set of physical and chemical characteristics, making it a truly valuable material in a soil mix. Pumice allows water, air, and other gases to flow easily from the air to the plant's roots. This aeration is important for water distribution, preventing soil compression over time as well as preventing root rot. 

Pumice improves the quality of soil due to its porous properties. water and gases are transported easily through the pores and nutrients get stored in the microscopic holes.

Since pumice doesn’t require any processing once collected. It enhances soil in its natural form. a commonly used alternative known as perlite, on the other hand, needs to be heavily treated before it’s able to perform in a soil environment. 

Large quantities of diesel fuel are necessary to mine perlite which is typically done through controlled ‘blasting’ which involves strategically placing dynamite amidst an ecosystem to collect the dense powder used to create it. Once it’s collected, this powder is blasted in a two-story, fossil fuel-powered kiln, causing it to pop much like a popcorn kernel. This popping causes the powder expanding in size by 40x.

Using Pumice in soil keeps the integrity of the soil strong. Since it won’t degrade in a soil environment, your plants will be able to breathe indefinitely. 

Conscious ingredient choices like these help DEN support happy plants and a happier planet. 

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