Caring for the Environment
As a family we strongly believe in working with the natural environment rather than against it. We love the great outdoors and are passionate about preserving the British countryside for future generations.
As a business we are always looking for ways to reduce our impact on the environment and to recycle and reuse natural resources.
We moved to our current nursery in 2006 and we are proud of the the steps we have taken so far to reduce our environmental footprint. As soon as we moved in we installed thermal screens to minimise heat loss. In 2010 with the help of an EU grant we installed rainwater harvesting at the nursery and in January 2014 we installed a more sustainable biomass heating system to replace the old oil fired heaters.
We have always used recycled paper in the office for our care instructions and greeting cards, for any promotional material, leaflets and envelopes. From the beginning we have chosen packaging that is based on recyclable paper and cardboard rather than plastics or cellophane and we are constantly looking at ways of improving our sustainability.
Our current boxes are made from 80% recycled material and all of our tissues and kraft papers are made using paper from sustainable sources and can easily be recycled in kerbside recycling. We introduced a new smaller box size in 2018 which has helped to reduce the amount of cardboard we use and the kraft paper 'padding' we use to protect our plants in transit is made from 100% recycled paper.
In 2018 we also replaced the plastic bags we used to hold in soil and moisture in transit with biodegradable and compostable starch bags and the plastic seals on our gift wrap with paper alternatives. We've always used natural raffia to tie these bags, but every year we look again at our processes in house to see if there is more that we can do. In 2019 we started writing our greeting cards with these rather nifty pens made from recycled water bottles and this year we're delighted to have replaced the oxo biodegradable plastic document wallet we were using with a custom made fully compostable alternative.
New Compostable Greeting Card envelopes
We're delighted that after many months of research and trials we've been able to swop out our biodegradable plastic document wallets for an even more environmentally friendly compostable paper solution. As our regular customers will know, at Plants4Presents we feel very strongly that we can help protect our environment and contribute to a better future. For us it's not just about about being seen to be environmentally friendly, we really want to find the best solution every time. Which is why we are so excited to have been able to replace the 20,000 document wallets we use a year with a purely paper product that can either be composted at home or can be recycled in normal kerbside recycling.
There is a lot of depressing stories about the effect of climate change on our planet but sometimes it's worth remembering that we can all make a difference. As packaging materials and the demand for more environmentally sound solutions continues, manufacturers are starting to respond. When we first looked for a better solution 5 years ago the best option we could find was biodegradable wallets. These were clear, waterproof, durable and able to degrade into smaller pieces in landfill over a period of time. In partnership with Tenzalope envelopes however, we have now finally been able to develop a better solution and our new envelopes are still durable, waterproof and clear enough to do their job but importantly will compost naturally either in a normal compost bin at home or can be put in normal paper recycling and reused that way.
Pressure from consumers and from smaller companies like ours can make big changes and we hope by promoting these more ecofriendly solutions other companies will come on board. If your company uses document wallets and would like to know more about how to get hold of glassine paper alternatives then please do get in touch. We hope our niche solution will soon become the norm.
Our completely Plastic Free Range
Plastic is still widely used in the horticultural industry as a practical material to grow and transport living plants and as we source many of our plants from nurseries that use plastic pots most of our range can't be guaranteed entirely plastic free. However there are a number of plants that we either grow here or repot on site at the nursery and these plants are now being repotted into biodegradable 'Vi-pots' rather than into new plastic. These attractive pots are made from by-products of the agricultural industry and include a mixture of rice husks, corn and bamboo waste compressed into a lightweight waterproof material. When intact they have a life cycle of at least 5 years but once they have been used they can be smashed (to allow moisture to get through the outer seal) and then either disposed of in normal household waste or composted as food waste and in either case they will break down completely into natural compost over a period of 9-18months.
Over time we hope to add more plants to these completely 'Plastic Free Range' but in the meantime please do be assured we are doing absolute everything we can to reduce plastic waste across our full range of gifts as well.
We try to take a holistic approach to waste management and recycling. We reuse everything that we can including plastic pots, water and office paper and what we can't reuse, we recycle. All discarded office paper, cardboard packaging and plastic pots and plant trays are collected from site for recycling. We compost all food and plant waste to make our own compost for pesticide free veg production
Organic Growing methods
The soil association doesn't recognise any potted plants as organic however we do practice organic principles in everything we do. We only use organic plant based insecticides and use natural predators (and our trusty farm cats!) to manage pests within the nursery. We use peat free compost in all our own re-potting and use a mixture of organic and non-organic feeds to keep our plants strong and healthy.