Why recycling in the horticulture industry is essential

Why recycling in the horticulture industry is essential

When Global Recycling Day comes around every March, we are reminded about the importance of saving the planet – and why it is essential that businesses in our industry join the battle against waste by putting in place a recycling scheme.

The horticulture sector faces huge challenges when it comes to recycling, particularly in relation to the amount of plastic it uses.

Our chairman, John Richardson, recently commented: "Despite being a 'green' industry, the demands of the trade, including the correct storage of plants, means that an incredible amount of plastic is used and then discarded. Making a positive contribution to the environment is at the heart of everything we do as a company and this is reflected in our recycling strategy.”

The plastic crisis has been one of most high-profile items in the news throughout the past year, with figures showing that more than 90% – or 6,300 million tonnes – of plastic waste has never been recycled[1].

As retailers of plastic packaging, we are required by law to pay the full cost of collecting and recycling, with an obligation to present a certain number of Packaging Return Notes (PRNs) to the officials at the end of the year.

In 2018, our company reported a total recovery obligation of 348 tonnes, broken down into four tonnes of paper, 116 tonnes of plastic and 92 tonnes of wood, and costing them in excess of £18,000 in recycling costs.

As part of our commitment to the environment, we are currently undertaking a year-long trial of recyclable plant pots. Made from 98% recycled plastic, the pots can be detected by domestic waste separation systems, unlike standard pots that are often used in the industry, which contain a carbon pigment that compromises recognition, resulting in a huge amount of pots ending up in landfill each year.

Providing the pots have no impact on plant growth and quality, the project will be rolled out to all of our garden centre customers from 2020.

In the meantime, our team makes every effort to recycle their own plastic pots, returning used or damaged items or pots to our supplier Aeroplas Ltd, who recycle them through their own production process.

We have also invested thousands of pounds into additional recycling processes, including funding the separate collection of cardboard, paper, plastic, pesticides, computers and batteries. Waste food from the canteen is collected weekly by Harrogate Borough Council.

We take our commitment to protecting the plant very seriously through implementing environmentally-friendly processes in the horticultural industry, and we are very proud of our ISO Standard 14001, setting the standard for Environmental Management Systems.

Posted 18th Mar 12:47pm

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