Our Sustainability Progress
An update on our pioneering sustainability initiatives
This year has seen a very strong start to our progress towards a more sustainable future, as we make excellent headway towards Net Zero. In 2022, we made a commitment to become 100% peat-free, 100% self-sufficient in water, and increase the electric machinery at Fresh Acres nursery, by the end of 2023. We are coming on leaps and bounds with these ambitious goals across our nurseries.
100% peat-free growing
In February 2022, we started trialling a range of peat-free mixes, and we are pleased to share that three out of six of our nurseries are now growing in peat-free media; this is an exciting achievement for us and the G Team are working hard to reach the next milestone.
Peat-free growing media comes with additional challenges, as it requires a different watering and feeding regime. For optimal growth, peat-free plants should be closely monitored to ensure they are receiving the correct volume and frequency of both water and nutrients. Our extensive trials have involved tweaking the composition to get the pH, nutrient levels, and structure right, as well as altering our irrigation programmes to suit the growing media.
100% water self-sufficiency
We’ve made great progress towards our goal to be 100% water self-sufficient by the end of this year. To help us to reach this, we’ve invested in a brand new 727,000 litre water storage tank at Highleigh nursery.
Our nurseries have excellent facilities already in place, including sophisticated wells which collect surface water, large tanks which collect and store rainwater, and a license to extract water from a local stream, which is then filtered and pumped into an underground collection tank for storage.
Our new 727,000 litre water tank at Highleigh nursery will be invaluable, especially during the summer months. This time of year is particularly challenging as we experience significantly less rainfall and higher temperatures.
Beehives at Fresh Acres nursery
Some members of our G Team have been taking part in a beekeeping course this year. Following this training, we will be setting up a dedicated beehive area at Fresh Acres, behind House 3; an exciting new addition to our nursery.
Bees are one of our most vital insects, and they are facing huge threats from habitat loss, climate change, pesticide use, and a reduction in plant variety. Bees play a part in every aspect of the ecosystem; their pollination supports plant fertilisation, enabling them to produce the next generation and maintain the ecosystem. They support the growth of plants which provide food and shelter to many other species of wildlife.
We hope to have our first harvest of honey at the end of August. Watch this space for beekeeping updates!
Reducing waste and lowering our carbon footprint
Our G Cycle scheme has seen a few changes this year; Greenwood’s Recycling Centre has been re-established at Highleigh nursery, and we are also introducing a new pot washing machine to enable us to re-use pots to reduce our plastic waste. We are also currently trialling a ‘Dutch method’ of crate building which has stronger corners and will help us to reduce our waste in this area.
A big challenge for us is the use of plastic wrap and we aim to significantly reduce this, or find an alternative. We have tackled this issue within Greenwood Choice by transporting plants across the nurseries with our new trolley jackets, but the next challenge is to find a sustainable alternative for plant deliveries. We will keep you updated on our progress in this area as we trial a range of different products.
We have recently had two new electric charging points installed at Fresh Acres nursery to help reduce our carbon footprint as a team. Our goal is to increase the number of electric vehicles across the G Team, and they will hugely benefit from being able to charge their car whilst at work.
We are constantly analysing all areas of the business to continually improve our green credentials. Some of our future plans in the pipeline include bird feeding stations to help with pest reduction across the nurseries and introducing solar panels at Fresh Acres to provide a clean and renewable energy source. We are excited to see how we progress this year as we head towards a greener future.
If you’d like to know more about our sustainability goals, head to our Sustainability page.