Is Hydroponics Sustainable? (Yes, It Absolutely Is)

Using hydroponics to grow fresh produce is fast becoming the most popular gardening trend, and for a good reason.

It maximizes space; all conditions can be controlled; no soil is required, which minimizes mess; it’s less labor intensive, produces a higher yield, and so on.

But, is hydroponics sustainable?

Yes, it is sustainable. In fact, it requires very less amount of space and provides a better return on investment to the growers. It only needs water, a proper system, seeds and nutrients to get started.

Sustainability is extremely important when cultivating a fresh source of fruits, vegetables and herbs, from a survival perspective and as part of overall household economics and mental health.

We threw that last point in there because mastering this practice is amazing for the soul!

Hydroponics is sustainable because it takes traditional agriculture methods and streamlines them using much fewer resources.  

Is hydroponics sustainable

Is hydroponics sustainable?

Hydroponics is one of, if not the best, sustainable living methods. All that is required is the system, water, nutrients and seeds.

The system can range from either super cheap and compact up to a far more advanced variant which may include a larger price tag.

There are 5 common system types: the Wick system, DWC (deep water culture), Ebb and Flow, Drip System and N.F.T (Nutrient Flow Technology).

Each has its pros and cons, which can be made to suit any lifestyle. You can also then go down the path of aeroponics and aquaponics, but we will just focus on the base methods in this article.

Some key points to demonstrate the sustainability of hydroponics includes the following.

Is hydroponics sustainable: actual answer

Availability and Affordability

Depending on your circumstances, hydroponics could be a great alternative to constantly going back and forth to local supermarkets.

It may not even be possible to live somewhere where fresh produce is readily available to just go out and purchase.

Even a small system can be set up to supply the essentials. The cost of fuel traversing back and forth and purchasing from stores could easily be offset.

Couple that with buying enough nutrients and possibly using recycled rainwater from your home to keep the system producing a consistent yield. The sustainability value is extremely high.

Controlled and Measured

One of the best aspects of growing using hydroponics is the ability to control all areas of the system. You decide the size of the system which suits your space and lifestyle.

You decide what type of plants you wish to grow and how many.

You then go through all the growth stages and corresponding cycles at your desired pace. Everything can be customized.

As long as the specific plants receive the food, water, oxygen, heat and light they need, you have a never-ending supply of food for your family. 

Where is hydroponics used today?

Hydroponics has taken off over the last 10+ years. Not only have they become better engineered, but the costs have lowered, which means they are more available to a larger audience.

The biggest players are large-scale suppliers for supermarkets which can easily distribute worldwide.

Furthermore, you can often walk into larger chain stores, and they will have a growers section where you can see hydroponics systems at scale growing produce for the store.

It’s not uncommon for a well-formatted business plan to come to fruition by discovering something the masses need and building a system for that need at scale.

Where is hydroponics used today

It’s the age-old operation of supply and demand being put into action. There are a handful of countries that use hydroponics at mass for the production of a range of produce. These countries include:

  • United Kingdom: The UK is the largest producer in the world. They supply Thanet Earth and Jones Food Company and produce 54 million pounds annually.
  • United States Of America: The next powerhouse in the industry is the U.S.A which produces 47.5 million pounds annually. They supply Aerofarms, Green Spirit Farms and Gotham Greens. 
  • Australia: Next is the land in Australia, which produces 40 million pounds per year. They are the main supplier for Sundrop Farms and Nectar Farms. 
  • India: Then you have India, which churns out 38 million pounds. The only supply for Junga Fresh green is a huge chunk of the total market share in India.
  • Japan: Japan does 27.3 million pounds per year and supplies for SPREAD, Innovatus and Mirai Co. 
  • South Africa: The other major user of hydroponics at scale in South Africa. They produce 1.5 million pounds per year which is still quite impressive. They work with a company called Charlie Malan. 

So as we can see, some countries are pushing to become superpowers in an industry that hardly existed 20 years ago. It’s innovation at its finest and should only get better with time. 

Future of hydroponics

We have made a conscious effort to research and practice hydroponics extensively. Not only because of its sustainability value but for the sake of the environment and economy.

The fact that you can have a personal fresh grocery store running from your own home that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg is extremely valuable.

Gone are the days when smaller local stores sell their produce at a reasonable price. They just can’t compete with the bigger chain-type supermarkets these days.

Additionally, the amount of junk sprayed all over what we perceive as ‘fresh’ produce to keep them free of insects and disease is not ideal once consumed.

So those are the things that should be considered when it comes to making a choice, such as creating your production system. We strongly believe hydroponics could be the one-stop solution to mitigating any food crisis.

Fortifying nutrients in confined amounts of water to grow an abundance of life-giving food should be conducted at scale.

Future of hydroponics

There are so many avenues you could go down when considering the possibilities. Think about how the old bartering system used to function.

You would grow a heap of potatoes, one of your neighbors would grow tomatoes, another a heap of herbs.

You would swap with each other, so everyone had everything for almost no cost. Just whatever it costs to run your system.

This is how we would like the future of hydroponics to go. Whether it happens, that way is another story.

It doesn’t stop at food either; germinating and propagating flowers, shrubs, cover vines, etc., can all be fine-tuned and shared around to help the realm become a greener, happier place to live!

5 Advantages of hydroponics

Hydroponics is supremely sustainable due to its many advantages over traditional cultivation styles. Let’s look at 5 of the greatest advantages of hydroponics and how they benefit the user. 

Less Space Required

Considering every element of a plant’s growth is provided by a compact structured system, space and location are generally never a problem. You can build a whole system in a tiny space and consistently provide your whole family with fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs.

There’s even the possibility of setting up a vertical hydroponic farm which uses even less space. This is because the roots of the plants have all of their nutrients provided for them in the exact spot required for uptake.

Meaning they don’t need as much space. The root system is much smaller than those grown with traditional methods in soil. 

Reduces Water & Nutrients Wastage

Depending on the type of setup, the water and nutrient solution used within most systems is usually cycled round and round until the entire solution becomes diluted.

Only at this point does the water need to be changed out. This factor is much more beneficial than traditional growing, where water frequency is essential.

You can use stored rainwater to fill the reservoir to further minimize running costs. 

Easy to Control Temperature

The beauty of hydroponics is that it can control the overall climate of the entire system. This includes the humidity, the temperature and the intensity of the light which can be used.

You can simulate traditional growing conditions all year round with a few buttons and switches.

That’s what makes this method of growing so popular. You don’t need to worry about what the real-time weather is doing to produce consistently.  

Offers Better Yields

Hydroponic systems provide the luxury of allowing the plants direct access to food right at the roots. Meaning the roots don’t need to do anything else but grow upwards.

As mentioned earlier, when a plant is grown in soil, it’s forced to focus its energy on building a strong root system.

This is because the roots need to be able to search around underground for food and water. As a result of focused growth upwards, yield is far greater and of much better quality than traditional growing methods.

The plants have all they need to be provided to them on a silver platter, and they just grow. 

Requires No Soil

Hydroponics use water, air and nutrients from below to promote the growth of plants. This means you don’t need soil that can often be costly, messy and higher maintenance.

This is great for growers that don’t have access to good soil. Such as out on the ocean or even in regions with vast sand. 

3 Disadvantages of hydroponics

We have looked at the many benefits of hydroponics, but there are also some minor drawbacks. These include

The Initial Set Up Cost is Quite High

Let’s face it; hydroponics systems aren’t cheap when starting. You need to purchase all the bits and pieces of the system, including pumps, bulk pots, nutrients and other chemicals, etc.

However, once you purchase the base items, the only costs will be water and smaller amounts of nutrients and chemicals. Hydroponic systems should be seen as a longer-term investment, not just a once-off fad.  

Not Easy to Learn and Master

In the beginning, there is a lot of trial and error involved. You will need to get used to the system you have set up.

The other issue is that there is so much information out there it’s hard to wade through all the noise and focus on the only information you require.

The best thing to do is to test the system a couple of times with minimal plants just to see how it reacts to the chemicals, solvents and other controlled elements.

Once you are comfortable with testing things such as pH, adding the required solutions, flushing, etc., you could set the bar a little higher. 

Expensive Equipment and Their Failure

One of the biggest downsides to a hydroponics system is the possibility of the equipment failing or turning off unexpectedly from a power outage. There’s nothing worse than going all in with an investment only to shut it all down due to something that isn’t your fault.

Constant checks on equipment are an essential part of regular maintenance. This can include checking cables, plugs, switches, pumps, etc., are all in working order.

The best time to do these routine checks is during a flush, where you turn the system off to empty the nutrient solution. 

Frequently Asked Questions (fAQs)

Are hydroponic farms good for the environment?

Hydroponic farms can be seen as good for the environment. Using water rationally and resources in a scarce but calculated manner is enough to see the positive impact of hydroponics on the environment.

Furthermore, such a system provides long-term sustainability with a much smaller footprint. There is also far less in the way of run-off chemicals compared to larger-scale traditional growing factories. 

Is hydroponic farming efficient?

Hydroponics is extremely efficient as long as the plants’ conditions are controlled correctly and fine-tuned. Once the trial and error period is over, the everyday family could have their infinity grocery store growing in their home. 

Why is hydroponic, not popular?

Hydroponics can be easily misunderstood. Many moving parts are involved, but over time, these processes can be quickly mastered and then streamlined. The other issue is the upfront costs to begin.

It generally sets the grower back quite a bit in the beginning to purchase all the equipment, nutrients and chemicals. After some time, though, the reward can simply outweigh the risk. People now want things and aren’t prepared to take their time to understand things. 

Is hydroponic better than soil?

Hydroponics is better than soil because the plants focus their growth on everything above the pot instead of a strong root system below the soil. This is because hydroponics works by supplying the root system with nutrients directly at the roots.

Soil-grown plants need to grow an extensive root system to enable them to plant to search for food underground. Hydroponics also makes a lot less mess. In saying that, though, if you have a heap of soil and land, then, by all means, choose the available option instead. 

Is hydroponics a green technology?

Hydroponics can be seen as green technology in the way that it can help counteract issues such as sustainability and availability. Not to mention that the water can be recycled rainwater. The only issue may be the final flush of extremely diluted nutrients that can go against the green theme. 


Hydroponics is worth looking into if you’re after a sustainable method of growing fresh and healthy produce. The popularity these days is growing so fast that the technology of these systems improves to keep up with more customized requirements.

The 2 aspects almost go hand in hand whilst competing with each other. The best thing about hydroponics is that you can grow an infinite supply of food for your family, all by forking out a little in the beginning and then reaping the rewards for years to come.

We hope this article has been helpful, and we look forward to creating more just like this for our followers in the future. As always, happy growing!

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