Durstons Garden Products committed to a sustainable future
On the first step of their journey, the family-run business reduced peat across their entire range, launched a brand-new peat-free growing offer, and revamped all packaging, so that it includes more recycled material and is fully recyclable at the end of its life.
In the face of a climate crisis, consumers have never been more concerned about the impact they and the products they use have on the environment. Garden retailers have also made their own commitments to operating more sustainably and providing greener alternatives, which is why Durstons are taking action to ensure their ranges meet expectations and that customers have the choice and support they need.
Despite protestations from some notable figures in the horticulture industry, the team at Durstons believes a peat-free future is closer than ever, and is working round the clock to ensure that the business is ready. Whilst some have dithered on the issue or are against the phasing out of peat altogether, Durstons have made a steadfast commitment to eradicating peat from their products going forward and to protecting the non-renewable resource. Durstons’ offering is constantly evolving, and, to date, the manufacturer has reduced the amount of peat used across its entire range. They have also launched a new multi-purpose peat-free compost produced entirely from renewable sources.
The compost provides excellent nutrient content and delivers consistently great results. Good drainage and aeration, plus a wetting agent, helps nurture healthy root systems and keep plants thriving.
To support consumers who want even more of a natural gardening experience, there is Durstons Organic Multi-Purpose Compost Peat Free, which creates ideal growing conditions thanks to its perfect blend of the highest quality organic and peat-free growing media, combined with a wetting agent to balance water absorption.
The latest exciting addition to its expanding portfolio, just in time for Glee 2022 (June 28th-30th), is a brand-new peat-free grow bag. Dubbed Peat Free Grow in the Bag, the extra-large pack is the same size as Durstons’ Vegetable Planter and is perfect for growing a wide range of fruit, vegetables and salad crops.
According to the UK Government, two thirds of the peat sold in the UK is imported from the rest of Europe but, as consumers now question the green credentials and provenance of the products they buy, British manufacturer Durstons understand how important it is that UK retailers are able to source quality peat-free growing media from local suppliers.
In response, Durstons are currently working in line with Government guidelines and goals around peat reduction but are accelerating changes within the business and have even more exciting updates in the pipeline.
Cutting through the confusion
Growing media is often an overwhelming category for the average garden centre customer. Even well-practised gardeners can make mistakes when it comes to choosing the right product for the job. With the phasing out of peat high on the horticulture industry’s agenda, understanding how gardeners use these products is crucial.
A recent Government report suggested that consumers continue to misuse bagged peat-based products, citing an example of using them to improve the quality of garden soil, when other products, such as green compost would be much more appropriate and beneficial. As a result, Durstons welcomed a series of projects launched by the Growing Media Taskforce to improve customer knowledge about peat-free gardening.
Equally, the family firm doesn’t want to complicate things further for end-users, which is why Durstons’ peat-free compost is multi-purpose and offers benefits for a wide range of gardening uses. The company also made the decision to revamp all packaging, so that key messaging and applications were strongly emphasised, helping end-users make a more informed choice. The bag for Durstons Multi-Purpose Peat-Free Compost clearly highlights that it is ideal for sowing, planting, baskets and tubs. Also in a prominent position on pack is the fact that this product is produced in the UK and the packaging is recyclable, making it even easier for eco-conscious gardeners to find the right products for their needs.
Finally, to help consumers zone in on peat-free products within a garden retailer’s offer more quickly, Durstons have opted to colour-code their ranges as part of the packaging re-design. Their peat-free composts and grow bag now all feature a green colourway, making the peat-free family easily recognisable when on display.
No compromise on quality
One of the biggest challenges with reduced-peat products is performance and convincing gardeners that they can still grow successfully with greener alternatives. Having reduced peat levels across its entire range, Durstons have worked hard to develop their unique GRO BOOST additive, which provides plants with a long-lasting nutrient boost throughout the growth cycle. The specially formulated blend of organic materials from renewable sources helps maintains outstanding growing performance, reducing users’ reliance on peat. ‘Added GRO BOOST’ is always clearly highlighted on pack to help it jump out on shelf and give gardeners the confidence that they are selecting a product that will deliver outstanding results, regardless of the reduced peat content.
As part of the journey, Durstons have made significant investments in improving the quality of their peat-free compost with the introduction of two new state-of-the-art Komptech screens at their manufacturing site in Sharpham. The machines sieve peat-free material, so that only the optimum particle size passes through and is bagged. The end result is a quality peat-free compost that is free of any oversized material and helps growers achieve brilliant results.
With so much plastic waste still being sent to landfill, Durstons no longer wanted to be part of the problem and were one of the first growing media brands to introduce 100%-recyclable packaging. The Somerset-based manufacturer has also incorporated 30% recycled material into the make-up of their compost bags.
Durstons are taking responsibility for their own role in the supply chain and continue to make changes that ensure they operates as sustainably as possible. The business also undertakes a comprehensive after-use programme on all of its peat bogs at the end of their life cycle, so that any area Durstons have farmed will be fully regenerated and a wealth of natural wildlife habitats created.
Dan Durston says: “Durstons have a long-term vision for incorporating sustainability; and a peat-free future is very much at the heart of this. We are investing time and money in expanding our peat-free offer, whilst ensuring we maintain quality and continue to offer our customers innovative products, rather than oversaturating the market with ‘me too’ ranges.”
He continues: “We know that a move away from peat is a contentious issue and many people have strong opinions on the subject, but we echo Monty Don’s sentiment that ‘it is far better to be part of the solution than part of the problem’. We welcome the changes that are taking place and stand with organisations – such as the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), Garden Centre Association (GCA) and Growing Media Association (GMA) – in seeking a greener way to garden, and preserving the UK’s peatlands, along with vital eco-systems and habitats.
“This is just the first step on a longer journey for us, during which we are excited to bring more peat-free options to market, so join us for the ride! Come and see us on stand at Glee in June (Hall 20, stand C02) to talk about peat-free gardening and find out more about our plans for the future.”
Find out more
Durstons have been established for over 150 years. Find out more at www.durstongardenproducts.co.uk or call 01458 442688.