It might not be the weather to tempt you out into the garden, but a browse around our local Wyevale store yesterday has resurrected my enthusiasm for tackling our little patch of land.
And I needed a pick-me-up having spent the last few days suffering from man-flu (yes I know, I freely admit it I am the only woman to come down with the virus and am happy to defend blokes who suffer from it).
So a trip to Wyevale was just the tonic I needed, conducting a recce for the latest chapter in my book. And when it comes to zero waste I was very impressed with what the company has to offer gardening enthusiasts across the UK. To see what I mean, here's a an insight into some of the things I discovered during my wander.
First up, on entering the store there was a huge crate welcoming customers to recycle their plastic plant pots. Given that 500 million of the critters are used across the UK, it is great news to hear that following a trial in Spring, Wyevale has now rolled out this facility to over 100 stores nationwide.
For anyone wanting to plant onions ready for next year, there was the encouraging sight of a "fill-a-pot" scheme. So as well as buying onions loose in the market, you can now do the same with your onion sets.
Then there were the tools that come with 100% FSC cardboard labels attached with a piece of string and hanging basket liners made from compressed recycled paper and others made from coconut coir as well as ground pegs made out of cornstarch
And if that hasn't already knocked your socks off, you should have seen the border edging and mulch products made from recycled tyres. Amazingly, they looked like treated hardwood products, but with none of the maintenance required. It's a product you can simply just cut, lay and leave!
This wonderful range is all part of Wyevale's Plan Apple, which not just introduces eco measures into the operation of the company but also how the business can help its customers live a more sustainable lifestyle through how they use their gardens, for example by offering more recycled products and increasing its "grow your own" range.
The name itself was chosen because apples are a symbol of the opportunity to seed, nurture and harvest a new way of thinking about the real value of gardens, wildlife and food.
The 10 commitments of Plan Apple are:
1. Rediscovering our local community
2. Connecting with the source of our food
3. Working with nature
4. Encouraging carbon positive gardening
5. Ensuring our supply chain benefits everyone
6. Protecting our endangered forests
7. Towards peat-free gardening
8. Using less water
9. Towards zero waste
10. Inspiring personal well-being and sustainable lifestyles
And here is a timeline of the measures that have been introduced so far.
- Phasing out patio heaters (Easter 2007)
- Trialling and then rolling out plastic flower-pot recycling facilities to all stores (Easter 2008)
- Banning all polystyrene bedding packs from January 2009.
Other actions include hosting composting events, sourcing local food for the company's in-store restaurants, trialling farmers' markets in six stores as well as organising a tool amnesty to collect garden tools for Feed the Children and the Conservation Foundation. In its largest stores, the company has also committed to stocking at least 200 products sourced from small artisan producers in the UK.
And when it comes to packaging, Wyevale is on a Zero Waste mission which recognises that over-packaging causes unnecessary carbon emissions, wastage and costs. Consequently the company's product packaging review has meant that suppliers have had to reassess their products. One example is the the shift from polystyrene packs in January, which will see the introduction of black plastic containers that comprise more recycled materials than the white plastic alternative with greater capacity, which carries better delivery efficiency and reduced road miles. Other changes also include the introduction of a 5p charge on plastic bags.
It's great to see another example of a well-known company that is taking responsibility for waste at source, instead of passing the buck to the consumer. Top marks too for encouraging sustainability in the garden.
There was so much on offer I could have bought the shop, including the cheeky fleece blanket that proudly declared "I am not a patio heater". It's a good job I'm still on this Buy Nothing New month otherwise I'd be in big trouble, AGAIN! However, my visit has inspired me to sort out our garden in the new year, so I will be back soon to splash the cash on a few goodies.
But I couldn't leave completely empty-handed, so treated myself to a bagful of loose sweeties from the pick and mix range near the exit. Come on...after a day on my sickbed, I most definitely needed a treat and it was a cheap one at that.