At Melcourt we are very aware of environmental issues. Here we round up some of our latest eco-friendly initiatives
Having never dealt with peat, we have have been very involved with the debate about its use for nearly three decades. And we are very happy to have been able to take a leading role in showing that peat-free production is not only possible, but that many professional growers use it in preference to their previous peat-based growing media. And they are doing this commercially successfully, in competition with peat-based growers. It can be done and our eco-friendly customers have been showing the way for two decades!
Bedding salvias growing in Melcourt Sylvamix® peat-free growing media
Melcourt are founder members of the new Responsible Sourcing of Growing Media Scheme. This cross-industry initiative scores growing media across a range of environmental and social criteria. The Scheme brings a new level of transparency and scrutiny to growing media in the UK, and is a real step forward for this industry and consumers alike.
Our use of plastic is another area of focus for us. We have investigated all sorts of alternative ways to package our composts, but at the moment nothing has been able to take the place of polythene. Composts are damp, heavy materials that are typically stored outdoors for lengthy periods so the demands on the packaging are quite high. But working with our packaging supplier we are aiming to increase the amount of recycled plastic in our bags from a current level of 30% up to 50% by 2025. The polythene we use is all recyclable although local authorities vary in what they offer in terms of plastic compost bag recycling. Do check locally.
The Melcourt Bag for Life is another way in which we are offering a way to reduce plastic use. Essentially you can buy a Bag for Life at the participating garden centre, and they fill it up with SylvaGrow from a bulk baled supply. After using the compost, you go back for more using the same bag. The Bag for Life only needs to be used twice before less plastic has been consumed. They are very sturdy and will go on for many return trips if looked after carefully.
For our professional grower customers, we offer a maxi-bale. This is another way of packing more compost using less plastic. The maxi-bale typically holds around 2,500 litres (2.5m3). It uses a massive five times less plastic than the equivalent volume packed in traditional 50 litre bags.
Responsibly sourced wood
Whether it is maxi-bales, a bulk bag, or 50-litre bags, compost has to travel on pallets. These need to be very sturdy in order to carry the weight of so many bags. Typically 60 bags of SylvaGrow need to go on one pallet – so we opt for wood. At Melcourt we are careful to only buy pallets from reputable sources who have approved recycling systems. We use as many recycled pallets as possible. Many of our products are also certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®). And this indicates that they come from responsible forest sources.
The quest to reduce environmental impact for companies and individuals is something that will never end. We are doing our best to take a responsible attitude and to minimize the impacts of our activities wherever possible.