Landscape gardeners still not fishing for chips

Recycled woodchips have only made the tiniest blip on the radar of the landscaping industry, despite being a cheap, durable and eco-friendly material.

Only three per cent of landscaping specifiers, purchasers and professionals are aware of that recycled woodchip can be used as a loose surfacing material, according to research publish by the Waste & Resources Action Plan (WRAP) this week.

WRAP targeted its survey at key decision-makers from local authorities, landscaping contractors and landscape architects to support its work promoting the benefits of recycled woodchip as a mulch for plant beds and a surface material for pathways or play areas.

The research also showed that only two thirds of those who were aware of the material had actually tried using it.

The overwhelming majority of those quizzed had simply never heard of it, however.

On the up side, many said that they would consider switching to recycled woodchip now they had been made aware of its availability.

Julia Turner, material development manager for wood at WRAP, said: “It is understandable that so many people involved in landscaping are not aware that recycled woodchip can be used as a mulch or surfacing for paths and play areas, but we are working very hard to change that.

“Recycled woodchip is an extremely durable product, taking up to five years to break down, and it also reduces maintenance requirements such as weeding and watering because it is very efficient at suppressing weeds and retaining soil moisture.

“It is good to note however, that once landscaping professionals have worked with recycled woodchip, their feedback is consistently positive.

“Not only do users recognise the product’s environmental credentials, they are also impressed by its multiple performance benefits which span everything from durability to cost and low maintenance.

“We urge local authorities and their contractors to try out recycled woodchip and see the benefits for themselves.”

Consumption of wood in the UK is estimated to be approximately 47 million tonnes per year, while waste wood created is estimated at 10.5 million tonnes. Currently only 1.2 million tonnes per annum are being recycled.

By Sam Bond

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