From April 2014, B&Q will replace all polystyrene packaging across its range of bedding plants with a new teabag technology that is 100% recyclable and up to 95% peat-free.

As well as tackling the issue of non-recyclable polystyrene trays, which end up as non-degradable waste in UK landfills, the new teabag Technology, called easyGrow, will see each bedding plant rooted in up to 95% peat-free compost.

According to B&Q and RSPB, who is supporting the move, peat-free gardening takes the pressure away from exploiting lowland peat bogs, which are vital for local wildlife.

In addition to taking a “thousand years for raised bogs to build up a metre depth of peat”, peat extraction is also a significant source of carbon emissions, releasing around 1.25 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.

B&Q CSR director, Matt Sexton, said: “As the largest garden retailer in the country, selling around 140 million bedding plants a year, we are keen to ensure that our horticulture products have the lowest level of environmental impact possible.

“In line with Defra’s voluntary targets, we are aiming to have removed peat form our horticultural products by 2030, I hope substantially before then, and this product will see us take a major step towards that goal by proving that virtually peat free horticulture is becoming a mass market reality,” added Sexton.

Commenting on the announcement, chairman of the Sustainable Growing Media Task Force, Alan Knight, said; “Today marks a tipping point towards a future where the sector no longer relies on peat”.

Leigh Stringer

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