Written by Jenny, Contributor
Plastic-free July is a global movement that puts an important conversation at the forefront of everyone's minds–the impact of plastic on the environment.
Gardening and caring for the planet go hand in hand. Yet, it's often overlooked as an area to reduce plastic waste. Numerous simple changes can make your gardening experience much more eco-friendly, from switching to peat-free soils to cutting down on plastic.
Consider all the tiny seed packets, soil bags, flimsy nursery pots, seedling trays and whatever else you go through each year. And then consider how many gardeners are going through the same amount of waste (or more). Yeah, that's an overwhelming amount of plastic, but you can make a difference by controlling your own consumption.
There is something undeniably satisfying about growing plump, delicious fruit and veg from the scraps you have in your kitchen. Sometimes it's as easy as popping them in a cup of water and then sitting back to watch them grow. So instead of buying seeds and plug plants, save your leftover bits of fruit and veggies to regrow them for free! For example, you can grow spring onions on a sunny window sill by placing the white ends in a glass jar of water. You can also save the seeds from your peppers and tomatoes and pop them in some soil.
Nursery pots are small, thin plastic pots that allow young plants to grow; for example, if you make a cutting, you'd likely pop it in a nursery pot once it's developed roots. The more you garden, the more your collection of these flimsy pots increases, and unfortunately, they're easily breakable, so it's not long before they're chucked in the bin. A natural and eco-friendly alternative to plastic pots are coir pots, which are made from coconut husks. They provide good drainage and aeration, keep your plants watered nicely, and promote strong root growth as the roots can grow through the material.
Pottering around the garden and tending to plants may seem like the perfect solo activity, but it can be surprisingly social. Gardeners love to trade advice and plants–so if you need some guidance on how to be more sustainable in the garden, don't be afraid to reach out to a neighbour or friend. And best of all, instead of going to the shop and buying a new plant, tool, or seeds, ask a fellow gardener if they have some spare (make sure you have something to trade with them as a nice gesture).
Seedling trays make it easier for you to sow multiple seeds at once, and when they germinate, you can transfer them to larger pots where they'll (hopefully) flourish. Annoyingly, conventional seed trays are fragile and break easily, which leads to more unnecessary plastic waste. So consider buying products made from bamboo–a naturally renewable, fast-growing grass. Bamboo is highly sustainable and makes the ultimate alternative to carbon-heavy plastic products. You can gradually phase out your plastic products and replace them with stylish, biodegradable bamboo seedling trays. Another great thing about these trays is that they're versatile–you can use them as both a seedling tray or a drip tray for indoor plants.
Each time we choose to shop from companies that have good sustainability values, we are contributing to a better, greener future. So if you can, support the companies making an effort; for example, at The Stem, we send orders within London without any packaging to avoid excessive waste. Additionally, you can choose from our peat-free range and organic fertilisers which are both prioritising the environment.
As well as opting for natural materials like bamboo and coir, you can also keep an eye out for products made from recycled materials. Recycling plastic gives it a new lease of life and requires fewer resources to manufacture. It also allows you to continue using the material you like while technically being plastic-free. So whether you're looking for a new watering can–either small or medium-sized–there'll definitely be an alternative for you that's made from recycled materials.
If you are looking for plants, browse our range of top-quality indoor and outdoor plants today. Our selection will add colour, texture, and movement to your space, and they make ideal gifts too. So shop now or get in touch with our expert team if you have any questions or need some advice on picking the perfect plant for you!
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