GCA members encouraged to do their bit to reduce waste

THE GARDEN Centre Association (GCA) is encouraging its members to do what they can start reducing waste and the amount of plastic going to landfill (August, 2019).

Two of its member centres recently worked with Herefordshire and Worcestershire authorities to get non-black PP plastic pots and trays accepted in household and kerbside recycling bins.

Will Blake, Director at St Peter’s Garden Centre in Norton, Worcester, said: “There has been a lot of discussions among GCA members about how we can help reduce plastic waste, especially as there is a large amount of it in the garden centre industry currently. “Myself, along with Nick Baker at Webbs of Wychbold garden centre at Droitwich Spa, have recently been in touch with the local authorities to see how we could help. Nick wrote to the local councils, only to find out, that many will not accept plastic plant pots in recycling, however I visited the reprocessing plant for our counties and discussed it further with them. They had heard of the taupe plant pot and welcomed a visit to discuss the situation. I took a whole selection of PP pots with me – Popplemann Teku, Taupe, black and also some trays."

“We put all the pot types through the plant, and the good news is that, every single noWilliam Blake - pot recycling and reducing wasten-black PP pot was identified by the infrared scanners and sorted into its correct plastic category. The particular company I visited, Severn Waste Services, were extremely helpful, and really appreciated my input. Within a week of the visit, they had updated their website (which lists exactly what can and can’t be placed in the recycling bins) and they met with the county council to advise of the acceptance of non-black PP plant pots, which is great news for the people of Herefordshire and Worcestershire.”

All non-black PP plastic pots and trays can be accepted in household and kerbside recycling in the Herefordshire and Worcestershire areas.

Will added: “As garden centres, St Peter’s and Webbs of Wychbold are now actively advertising this to our customers, both instore using posters, but also through social media. We were initially inspired to do something about this issue after David Chilvers of Bransford Webbs Plant Company, which is a GCA Associate Member, pioneered a taupe pot initiative in 2018. A group made up of the largest growers in the UK, came together and established that they needed to change the colour of the plant pot, to enable them to be recycled. This has now been widely adopted and the majority of plants grown in the UK, from spring 2019, are now done so in recyclable PP plant pots.”

The GCA represents nearly 200 garden centres nationwide.

Iain Wylie, Chief Executive of the GCA, said: “We’re keen as an Association that as much plastic is recycled as possible and doesn’t go to landfill, and we all need to do our bit in this fight, so it is great to see some of our members taking it upon themselves to help not only their own garden centre customers, but whole counties.”

Through sharing information and its inspection programme the GCA helps members to achieve high standards in customer service, plant quality and reliability.

For further information, please call 01244 952170.

Alternatively, please visit www.gca.org.uk, log on to www.facebook.com/pages/GardenCentreAssociation or follow the organisation on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GC_Association.