The issue has undoubtedly touched a nerve with consumers, with support for the idea that even small shopping choices, when multiplied by millions of people, can make a difference.
We’ve certainly seen an upsurge in interest from journalists and on social media in more eco-friendly options. At this busy time of year, as gardeners look to get outdoors after the long winter, and find they need to renew and replace, they are looking more carefully at more eco-friendly, sustainable options.
So what kind of things are we talking about here? Well, the short answer is a return to more traditional materials. Wood, metal and even paper have all been used in gardens for hundreds of years, either because they’re durable and will last for years, or because they easily biodegrade in soil, leaving no trace. And they’re what your customers are now once again interested in buying.
Every gardener uses lots of pots in spring and early summer. It can easily get out of hand, with trays and trays of seedlings, and absolutely dozens of pots. While using and re-using the same small plastic pots, is an option, they do become brittle and break - plus they need to be cleaned between each use to minimise the risk of spreading disease. As an alternative, our Paper Pot Maker makes an endless supply of paper pots from nothing more than newspaper. The kit makes several sizes of pots, for every size of seedling. When it’s time to plant out the seedlings, simply pop the whole thing in the ground, where the paper will eventually biodegrade, avoiding disturbance to roots. It’s not a new product in our range, but it has proved hugely popular this year, and also features new easy-to-merchandise packaging.
We have lots of wood and metal options available for the eco-conscious gardener. For seedlings, as seen on Gardeners’ World a few weeks ago, our wooden seedling labels are just the right size. When the plants get bigger, go for larger wooden labels; we even offer stylish gift packs of wooden labels. Or try some classic copper labels – helpful to deter slugs and snails, and they’ll last for years, with a beautiful classic look. For herbs, our Sophie Conran metal herb labels add a stylish country garden feel, and will last forever.
Instead of using plastic clips or ties, which can so easily get lost and will be turning up in the soil for years, people are opting for biodegradable jute twine instead. Aside from the plastic-free benefits, it can also be composted at the end of the season. No more fiddly untying of tomato plants! Alternatively, our metal plant support rings are easy to clip into place, won’t damage your plants, and can be used season after season.
Of course, the ultimate way to go plastic-free in the garden has to be to ditch the plastic tools. Wood and metal have been used in implements to tend the ground for thousands of years. Strong, light and durable, our tools feature FSC®-certified hardwood handles and either rust-resistant stainless steel or super-strong high carbon steel for the head, depending on the tool’s use. Our RHS-endorsed tools carry either a lifetime guarantee or a ten-year guarantee (for cutting tools). We believe our new RHS-endorsed leaf rake is the only metal leaf rake available in the UK. In contrast to the alternative of using plastic rakes which will quickly become brittle and start to lose their tines, our new leaf rake has a lifetime guarantee. And for retailers that means low returns - and happy customers.
Without a doubt, to boost your sales this summer, it's time to tap into the trend for reducing plastic in and around the garden. It’s part of a wider awareness of how our actions and affecting the environment - and it looks like it’s here to stay.