Peat-free products

Image: Pansies in Sylvamix Potting
© Melcourt Industries Ltd

Peat-free products

Cheap, usually imported, bags of peat do not reflect the environmental costs to society caused by peat mining and are undercutting the production and supply of peat-free materials. Advances in the development of peat-free horticultural products, means that the UK could establish its own long-term viable industry providing sustainable soil conditioners and growing materials for amateur and professional gardeners.

The benefits of peat-free products far outweight the cost of peat extraction.


Many peat-free composts work as effectively or even better than peat. Much of the material used for peat replacement contributes to recycling, such as green compost, or uses by-products including wood brash and other forestry waste. Commercially grown and harvested Sphagnum moss is also proving popular with the professional horticulture industry.


At an International Peat Society Summit in Rotterdam in 2018 there was recognition that International policy is moving increasingly towards more sustainable products, through ecolabelling and demands on producers to bear the environmental costs of their activities.  Supporting a speedy switch to peat-free products would help meet the environmentally responsible demands of society. It would also enable the UK to take a lead in supplying these sustainable materials rather than becoming dependent on imports.


A roundtable event held in Edinburgh including retailers and horticulture producers highlighted that there are already a number of manufacturers of peat-free soil conditioners and growing media in the UK. Given the right market signals and investment in this new industry by Government and with retailers support it will be possible to facilitate a shift away from peat and provide new opportunities for expanding employment.  


Ending the horticultural use of peat is important to help protect rare wildlife habitat and reduce carbon emissions but is also essential to placing the UK’s gardening retail and horticulture industry on a secure long-term basis.  Supporting the businesses that are developing the peat-free products is not just the responsibility of Government Environment Departments but also Trade and Industry and Climate Change.

5 Things home gardeners can do to address problems with peat

Listen below to find out what peat is and why it’s used in compost, what the problems are with peat extraction and 5 things that you can do as a home gardener to resolve these problems. Read full article...

The episode is written, hosted and produced by Dr Fay Edwards and features appearances from Dr Flo Renou-Wilson (research scientist, University College Dublin), Craig Macadam (Conservation Director, Buglife), Chris Dean (Partnership Manager, Moors for the Future Partnership and IUCN UK Peatland Programme Steering Group member) and Jane Barker (Owner, Dalefoot Composts).

 

Melcourt: Moving towards a future of peat-free products

Scottish Wildlife Trust: 50 of the future

Plantlife: The pain of a peat-free UK

     

Plantlife, along with the RSPB, Wildlife Trusts and Friends of the Earth, is calling on government and industry to replace peat use in gardening and horticulture - see Plantlife peat campaign

 

 

Land use: policies for a Net Zero UK CCC report
Committee on Climate Change Report on Land Use: Policies for a Net Zero UKThe IUCN UK Peatland Programme welcomes strengthened policy and legislative recommendations in the…
Multiple effects of peatland drainage
New resource available: Explaining the impact of peatland drainage.Illustrating the multiple effects of peatland drainage including implications for carbon emissions…
Managed burning of heather © North Pennines AONB
A burning issue: comparison between Australian & UK fire management misses the mark. The news of the ongoing Australian fires is deeply concerning both in terms of the impact on people…
IUCN Resolution 43 reporting
IUCN Resolution 43 reportingNew report on progress under IUCN Resolution 43: Securing the future of global peatlands available…
Langlands Moss Restoration works underway
Langlands Moss Restoration works underwayLanglands Moss Local Nature Reserve, on the south edge of East Kilbride, Scotland is set to be…
Snowdonia Society volunteers creating heather bale dams on the Migneint, Snowdonia. © Dan Struthers Photography
Working together for the future of Welsh peatlandsA major programme of works is underway this season to restore peatlands across Wales. A large…
European Peatland Strategies workshop - Bonn, Germany
European Peatland Strategies workshop - Bonn, Germany Over 30 representatives from across 12 European countries attended a workshop to examine existing…
Bog cotton landscape © Stephen Price
Peatlands and the climate emergency2019 has seen all four devolved governments across the UK declare a climate emergency which will…
Richard Payne
A tribute to Richard Payne The IUCN UK Peatlands Programme team were all saddened to hear the shocking news about the death of…
Image of sphagnum in pool © Joe Holden
Sphagnum is a key ingredient of natural flood managementIn 2008 iCASP published research that showed how water running over Sphagnum on blanket peatlands…
Image of V-notch in ply-sheet dam © Emma Shuttleworth
Peat restoration and natural flood managementThe Upland Environments Research Unit at the University of Manchester has been working closely with…
Image of bog vegetation © Dom Hinchley
New edition of Conserving Bogs: The Management HandbookA new edition of Conserving Bogs: The Management Handbook is now available. Conserving Bogs: The…