This is the first time since we started our year zero approach I have been able to sit down and bosh out my reflection on our plastic free selling journey so far. We have just had Gardeners World come in and do some filming of our processes and for the first time actually run through our motives and methods with people we didn’t know! I feel galvanised for some reaction when its broadcast.
The guys doing the filming were brilliant and massively patient, Chris and I both felt very nervous about defining motive, it is obvious that worry plays a huge part in why we doing this, a worry about the impact horticulture has on the environment… and being honest people accusing us of greenwash.
Things that are working include the POSIpot sleeves which feel brilliant to pass on, the public reaction is so good and the process of decanting the plant in to the pot takes a fraction longer than when we use to sell plants with plastic pots. We have a healthy stack of pots for washing and reusing.
The compost bag for life scheme is working, bags are coming back to us for refilling, again its got a huge thumbs up from all that use it.
The scoop and save element are going well, people are getting cheaper feeds and seeds and we are making money to.. it all feels the right thing to do.
Things we need to sort are plant labeling within the nursery, we use to print around 7000 plastic labels a year but now we are having to group plant varieties together and when we sell a plant write up a wooden label. We are thinking of a customer self writing process by putting IKEA style pencils and wooden labels for customers to label plants up themselves.
Transferring our larger plants is proving tricky, we have hessian wrapping for soft fruit and fruit trees once they have rooted (should be with the next few weeks) but at the moment the potted on bare root stock we sell cant be de-potted.
We will find solutions and find benefits within the solution, decanting our plants allow us to examine root health before we sell.
Our waste sorting has really come on, we are separating plastics for ‘in house’ processing. I am really enjoying this element as our land fill waste is nearly zero. Cardboard is sorted and recycled and we are really pushing our suppliers not to pointlessly over pack elements we need.
A really big joy is our new electric van, its a Kangoo and the best driving experience I have ever had. Brilliant for playing music in!
In conclusion it has been a challenging process changing our practices, it seems to be working as our the customer feedback is really good and our we are growing the biggest range of plants we have ever attempted. We have a great new staff member as well and this is really helping us.
The cutting of waste and carbon is going to be the only way businesses are going to keep going.. make those changes sooner rather than later.