Here at Gardening Express, we have developed an environmental policy that ensures we minimise any potential impact our operations may have on the world in which we live. From simple procedures like ensuring computers are not left on standby wasting electricity overnight, to careful consideration of our packaging and water usage we have covered a number of aspects. We are continually reviewing our policies, so that we can ensure that as we change, they change to make sure we sustain our high levels of commitment to the environment.
Some of the key points you may be pleased to hear about:
All of our packaging is made from 100% recycled materials and is infinitely recyclable.
We have a minimal packaging policy; if you are buying larger plants such as trees, you will find they could well be delivered with nothing more than a shipping label on their containers. Don't worry if you are concerned they could get damaged in transit - we use specialist carriers that are used to dealing with our plants, and handle them with extreme care.
Our cardboard cartons are made entirely from 100% post consumer waste, even the inks to print our logos have passed our policy as being vegetable based dyes rather than solvent based chemicals. Any waste board that we generate here is backhauled to the cardboard factory for recycling. For smaller plants we also use a small number of plastic 'blister packs' these are made from 100% recycled plastic - from items such as soft drinks bottles - and they can be recycled in exactly the same way!
Something that is very important to us here is the disposal of waste plastics - we generate waste in the form of old plant pots and carry trays and all of these are sent to factories so they may be reused to make other products. We ensure the pots we buy are made only from recycled materials themselves. The pots we use can also be recycled by you at home in the same way by inclusion with the waste plastic collection made by most councils. We have investigated other alternatives to the plastic pot, but we feel at the moment the amount of energy involved in the production of these, and that most need to be shipped half way around the world offsets any environmental benefits.
If we have a product that needs to have a void in the box filled, we use the bosses old newspapers, well in fact we encourage all our employees to bring in their old newspapers to avoid using any new materials which would simply be a waste. For more fragile items we have been working with a company developing an environmentally friendly, bio-degradable bubble wrap, and those white chippings you sometimes see are not polystyrene, but based on corn starch! Even our packing type is plant cellulose rather than plastic based.
Composts, Fertilisers and Water Conservation
On our nursery we are using 100% peat free composts, occasionally we have to used peat for some plants that do not grow well with out it, and where peat is used we ensure that it's use is kept to a minimum and that it comes from a source away from SSSIs, preserving valuable wildlife habitats. We ensure our suppliers harvest the peat we do use in a responsible manner, and when they have cleared an area, make sure they take an active approach to it's redevelopment as a wild life haven. We like to grow our plants on the nursery in a way that is as sustainable as possible. We use organic fertilisers where we can, and slow release ones that gradually release feed as the plants need it - far better than drenching them with liquid feeds that can run off and be wasted, and also have the potential to pollute watercourse and ponds. In high temperatures and low rainfall periods, responsible water usage becomes an import concern. In order to minimise water waste we have invested heavily in a complex drip irrigation system, that delivered the right amount of water to each plant where they need it, at the roots. This reduces water consumption significantly.
Wildlife areas & Chemical Use
Around our nursery we take a proactive approach to wildlife, and have everything in the local vicinity from bats to buzzards, owls to otters and toads to terrestrial orchids! We encourage wildlife by leaving fallow areas, looking after hedgerows responsibly, and by planting food source plants. We understand that the use of chemicals can have a detrimental impact on wildlife, and we avoid the use of these where ever possible, preferring biological controls where possible. By growing our plants with good husbandry, we really do minimise such chemical inputs, and will always try an organic product first if we do have to treat an occasional topical problem.
Transport & Daily Balance
Getting our plants to you in one piece is very important, and doing this in a way that will reduce your trips to garden centres to find every plant you need is what we achieve. One vehicle from us, with 100 customers orders on board, then delivered to you is so much better than all those individual journeys - particularly as our couriers fleets use bio-fuels where possible, and better still are starting to use alternative, so called, clean fuelled vehicles.
From small aspects such as only using energy saving lighting, and ensuring that when we do take those all important tea breaks that we don't boil any more water than we need, we are constantly looking at ways to ensure we minimise any environmental impact we may have.