Compost – reasons to avoid peat
and why it’s bad for the environment

peat free compost
Good for the earth: Peat free compost helps save the planet, so why is it hard to find? Picture: Joke vander Leij from Pixabay
David Lamont
David Lamont

PLASTIC FREE HOME with David Lamont

On a recent trip to a garden centre for compost (Ericaceous – which we have found harder to make ourselves), we were yet again frustrated at the lack of peat free options.

When asking a member of staff for help, they appeared oblivious to the issue and the reason for the question.

Needless to say, we left empty handed on that occasion.

At home, we now aim to produce our own compost through two large compost bins – available at a discount and very cheaply via the Wokingham Borough Council website, as are water butts – and another dedicated solely to leaf mould.

It’s not always possible to produce enough though and peat free brands we have tried, tested and recommend are Sylva Grow, Durstons, Westland – New Horizon, Richard Jackson – Flower Power and Happy Compost.

READ MORE: What you think about the new green recycling bags

If, like us, Milk & More deliver your milk, you can even get peat free compost delivered with your order.

We have previously sought to engage with national garden centre chains and retailers on the subject, with mixed success.

We have once again written to the major UK supermarkets and national DIY chains, but also every garden centre in Wokingham Borough, to find out their stance on going peat free.

We’ll keep you posted on their responses.

Reasons to avoid peat

1. In the UK, peatlands and bogs store around 3.2bn tonnes of Carbon – around 20 times more than UK forests.

2. Despite covering just 3% of the Earth’s land, peat lands and bogs hold twice as much carbon as the planet’s forests.

3. These areas can have a long-term “cooling effect” on our climate.

4. They provide vitally important and intensively biodiverse habitats.

5. Extracting peat releases a huge amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

6. Banning peat would have the equivalent effect of removing over 300,000 cars from UK roads.

7. 94% of the UK’s peat lands have already been damaged or destroyed. Things are not sustainable.

8. There are far more sustainable and scaleable alternatives in 2021.

Our simple view is that the use of peat is wholeheartedly unnecessary and avoidable and that there are suitable alternatives which need to be scaled up to become
mainstream as soon as possible.

Gardeners’ World host Monty Don has been campaigning hard on the issue.

He has criticised producers and retailers for “actively choosing to do harm” and urged them to stop “sticking their heads in the sand” and to make climate change and sustainability a priority, over profits and convenience.

He has been joined by other individuals and charities including the Wildlife Trusts in lobbying and hope that their collective voices will be heard.

What is the Government doing?

 Well, back in 2010, the then Environment Secretary Hilary Benn unveiled a plan to ban the use of peat by 2020.

In 2020, the Government had a target of 2030 in place.

Enough said.

Created in 2018 by blogger and voluntary hack David Lamont,
Plastic Free Home is an online community with over 32,000 followers, that aims to seek and share ideas on how we can all live more sustainably.

Visit www.theplasticfreehome.com or www.facebook.com/plasticfreehomeuk

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