Thursday, 27 November 2008

Greening up your green fingers with Wyevale

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.



Tracey Smith said...

TREMENDOUS! Hmmm, recycled plant pot scheme - that's a great idea! Should be in every store in the land.....lolol...

Great piece today missus and people will start thinking about a bit of gardening once Christmas is out of the way and we head into the spring...ohhhh the SPRING....bring it ON!


just Gai said...

Can you catch man flu over the internet? I've been laid up with it for the past three days and my daughter for the last two. You have my sympathies.

Rev. Peter Doodes said...

Gardening is a cure for many things, I copy an item from Psychology Today:

"Call it soil-borne wellness, and here is where science is ploughing totally new ground. Researchers are discovering that growing your own food—however much or little you can do—is better for your health than anyone ever suspected. And the nutritional value of what you harvest is almost the least of it.

Growing your own food by messing around in your own garden proves to be nature's fruitful way of cultivating your health—physically and psychologically.

The soil is a rich repository of microbes and other organisms with which we've coexisted from the beginning. As science digs deeper into understanding the effects of bacteria on human health, and especially on the immune system, it looks increasingly like ingesting components of the soil itself might be as critical to human health as the very finest fruits and veggies grown in it.

In 2007, University of Colorado neuroscientist Christopher Lowry, then working at Bristol University in England, made a startling discovery. He found that certain strains of soil-borne mycobacteria sharply stimulated the human immune system

Lowry finds, mycobacteria "are very selective and specific." They excite small subsets of serotonin-releasing neurons and pathways in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, where they directly impact cognition and mood regulation. Exposure cleanly increases the ability of test animals to cope effectively with stress and anxiety".

So forget the Prozac and reach for the gardening tools!

Rev. Peter Doodes said...

PS. If you click onto Mrs. A's post heading 'Greening up your green fingers with Wyvale' you get the full comment of my above post.

PPS. I learn something new every day Mrs. A, I have only just found that one out...

esther said...

wonderful! enormous! every year as I buy plants, I get stuck with the damn plastic non recycleble things...Just telle 'm to come over to france and they'll have at least one new customer!!

Denise said...

Thanks for this post - I usually avoid large garden centres because I see so much wastefulness, from the way they water their stock (with hosepipes and 90% of the water going to waste)to the sale of gas barbecues and patio heaters (madness!). Wyevale deserve to increase their business if they are genuinely committed to the environment. I will definitely visit my local store and see for myself.
Great blog - I've become a regular reader.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

ooh - I think we have one close to us - will have to check it out. The recycled plant pots is a great idea. We don't have many now because we took ours to the tip, being unable to pass them on to anyone!

Hope you are feeling much better now.

A x

Almost Mrs Average said...

Hi Tracey - Did you say Spring...can't wait. I am really looking forward to getting back out into the garden. Have neglected it this autumn, but at least we've had a few things growing :-D x

Hi Just Gai - I am sure you can get it on the Internet. Terrible business - no-one's safe. Problem is just as I started showing the first symptoms the new Survivors programme came on TV. Bleurgh! Hope you and your daughter are feeling better soon. :-D x
P.S. have just booked our visit to Bristol to see the family over Christmas. Looks like we're going to see the panto at the Hippodrome too. Yippee x

P.P.S. Haven't forgotten the tag. Will hopefully do it this weekend.

Hi Peter - Wow, that's amazing stuff. It does make you think doesn't it. I'm always happy after a good spell in the garden. I've sometimes helped with planting and maintenance activities at a local woodland conservation group too. It's always very satisfying. Thanks for copying that out. Very interesting. LOL at the double-clicking. Always works a treat :-D

Bonjour Esther - Perhaps you should send this link to les Bricolages (hope I've got that word right) near you over in France. They might take the hint. Hee hee :-D

Hi Denise - Thanks for your lovely comments and for dropping by so regularly, it's lovely to see you here. I know what you mean about the large garden centres vs the smaller ones. I have my favourite nurseries dotted around the area, including a fabulous one in Risby, near BSE (just off the A14 - next to an amazing antiques barn - should you be in the area). However, first point for me was the news that Wyevale had ditched the patio heater. And I am so pleased to see them taking other measures too. Hopefully they will have the necessary impact :-D

Hi Anne - Things are changing aren't they and all for the better. Am feeling much better thank you. Maybe it was my window shopping that helped. :-D

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