Since David Attenborough finished his series Blue Plant 2 with shocking images of the impact of human activity on marine life, and in particular the problem that plastic poses, there seems to have been a renewed emphasis on reducing plastic use. In particular, disposable plastic.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is a mantra we should all keep reminding ourselves of as we go about our daily lives, with “Reduce” being first and foremost and “Recycle” being the last resort. With this in mind, The Highland Flower Garden is trying to minimise its impact on the environment. The paper and cellophane we use to protect and present our bouquets and posies will happily decompose on your compost heap or in your council green waste bin. Proper cellophane (NOT “cello” or the majority of clear film wrap) is regenerated cellulose and is 100% biodegradable. The paper is recycled and can also be composted or recycled. We are also using peat free compost as the digging of peat releases CO2. Horticulture is responsible for two thirds of peat excavation in the UK and the CO2 it releases is equivalent to 300,000 cars. At the moment, the peat free compost we have been using comes in plastic bags that are not recyclable, but in the next few weeks we will be starting to use municipal green waste, generated in Scotland, that come in massive metre cube sacks that can be reused. This means less waste, less plastic and less transport miles.
As we are small scale we’ve also been trying to recycle some of the plastic pots and trays we find it sometimes hard to eliminate from our supermarket shop. This is unlikely to be practical for larger scale operations. Many pots and trays are ideal for propagating seeds and seedlings. A yoghurt pot is not that different from a plant pot once you’ve made a hole in the bottom! In addition, we are trying some biodegradable fibre pots and coir pellets for our seedlings. Once the seedling is ready to plant out you just plant the whole thing in the ground pot and all – no plastic or peat involved. Finally, we have cut up plastic milk bottles into plant labels as they work just fine if written on with a permanent pen.
Sometimes it all feels like a drop in the ocean when you see the damage man has done on this planet, but it would be wrong not to try and do our best.