We are committed to becoming peat-free but this needs to be done in a realistic and sustainable way. This relies on consumers accepting that the quality of peat free media is of equal quality and reasonably priced. We have offered peat free alternatives for as long as I can remember, but consumer conversion has been weak, until now, it is improving. This is due to the fact manufacturers have improved the quality of peat free growing media and lowered prices which in turn has allowed us to offer very competitive peat free multibuys to our customers, this in itself has not been an easy challenge for suppliers to surmount.
by Alan Roper, Managing Director, Blue Diamond
Progress is continuous, and significant progress has been made in developing peat-free and peat-reduced alternative products for plants to grow and thrive, new products are coming onto the market all the time. Alternative materials such as composted bark, coir, wood fibre and green waste can all play a role in developing growing media which replicates the properties of peat, adequate supply of these is key.
I believe we are now at a tipping point, although consumers overwhelmingly desire and have bought peat based growing media to date, now suppliers are producing peat free products at a quality and at a price that will attract a consumer; progress to the desired aim of zero peat production will be more rapid. To this end we will be increasing the number of peat free alternatives from 5 to 20.
More work obviously needs to be done to eliminate peat from the industry and I agree that it is helpful to prick the consciousness of the consumer thus I have no real issue with Monty Don rattling the consumers and industries cage we just need to be realistic in the challenges. From where I am sat the industry is not an enemy and should not be treated as such by social media vitriol as suppliers are working hard to produce quality peat free growing media and we are working hard to support and promote those products.
The Blue Diamond Group work collaboratively with The Soil Association, who only endorse Melcourt Industries. Melcourt Industries are the only large-scale producer of growing media, that is peat free and organic, carrying a full complement of growing media solutions. To this end our turnover has doubled in 6 months. Our intention is to increase our range by a further 25% and include new solutions for growing plants.
Finally, during this year, we have been working on trialling and launching a range of shrubs and perennials grown in peat free media for 2021.
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