engelly Plants Centre


Sarah Daniel, Monkton Elm Garden Centre director and GCA

chairman Mike Lind, and Ferndale Garden Centre managing director Neil Grant joined GIMA consultant Jane Lawler on stage in the Retail Growth Theatre for the conversation on plastic.

In their opening statements, the panel said: Sarah: “We’re very much a plant- based centre and have a very tiny shop. We started looking at plastic flower pot use within our industry about four years ago when we had customers come to us saying ‘we’ve got little garden sheds full of pots and don’t want to send them to landfill, so what do we do with them?’ We have trialled a number of different

things but eventually

built two big wooden recycling bins, where our customers put their pots in and people help themselves. We have schools, charities, people who grow for special events; they come in and help themselves. It recycles those pots and gets them re-used.


Making an environmental impact

Independent garden retailers joined a panel discussion at this year’s Glee to address reducing plastic waste in the industry.

The general public seem to like that. We also addressed our plastic bag use within the centre and now use the American paper shopper bags. The only thing we use a plastic bag for now is for aquatics because we haven’t been able to find a sustainable alternative that keeps the water in.” Neil: “We’re a medium-sized garden centre and have been processing cardboard, green waste, and general waste separately for a long time but plastics are catching us out. There are too many different sized pots, plus we are a very windy site just on the edge of the Peak District. It’s so easy to suddenly find half the pots you’ve collected halfway down the car park or stuck in the side of a hedge. So, we’ve got the practicalities of all of

that to solve before, I think, we can then start having it collected.” Mike: “I run a fairly large garden centre in Taunton and I am also GCA

chairman, representing

around 200 garden centres. As the business has evolved, we have seen a lot of pressures from the customer side. They’re seeing all the David Attenborough

programmes and

regular news items about recycling and re-using products. So, there is a lot of interaction between the business and the customer, and the most important point is having a really active dialogue with your suppliers. As a retailer, we are the middle man –we act as the conduit between the manufacturers and the customers.

“We bail all our cardboard and plastics. We have a very good relationship with Biffa to take all the product back to be recycled, encourage our customers to bring in plant pots and take back other ones. We are also looking at ways to avoid single-use plastic and that’s not just ‘how do we recycle it’ but instead of looking at the short cycle of product, could you make some single-use plastic more durable so they can be re-used as opposed to recycled? There are lots of debates.”

How engaged is the consumer and what sort of questions are they asking? Sarah: “We work closely with schools and the children are very

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