How is your garden centre becoming more green?

- Reinhard Biehler, proprietor, Baytree Nurseries & Garden Centre

"We recycle everything. We make our own compost as well and take trees from other people to chip and make compost with.

"We want to make customers more aware about being green as well. I'm German - Germany has been green for years and we are very much that way at Baytree. But this is not yet a commercial opportunity. It's a bit early. It's the same with peat-free compost, which has been going for years. People are getting more into it but it's a slog.

"We ran a competition with the local council two years ago for customers who made their own compost to win a greenhouse, which went very well. And we show schoolchildren how to make cuttings and recycle."

- Derek Bunker, owner, Alton Garden Centre

"We're rebuilding and all new work is of better environmental quality than the old building, which makes us more efficient. We've also got things like lights that switch off when they get too bright.

"We're giving customers biodegradable bags and also have our own-brand reusable bag. We're putting in a full range of organic products from Scotts, which has gone organic in a big way. We can't be sure there's a huge market. It's about demand - if the demand for green products rises it will bring prices down. We don't want to be pioneers and be paying for others."

- Mike Burks, chief executive, The Gardens Group

"We recycle cardboard and plastics, and send as many packing trays back to suppliers as possible.

"We run schemes offering second-hand pots for free and donate empty pots to school gardens. All bottles and newspapers go for recycling. Any unwanted metal stands are sent for scrap.

"We're finding that it's cheaper to recycle plastics and cardboard than send off for waste collection. At Poundbury we recycle rainwater and heat the centre with waste pallets. All the sites are working with schools to develop gardens and encourage them to become involved. We're also offering talks on various environmental issues and showing how gardening can offer solutions."

- Jamie Malcolm, co-founder, Shoots

"It's something we're working on. We have a cardboard recycling baling machine at our Stanmore centre and we can encourage customers to garden environmentally.

"A big part of our push this year is organic gardening. Customers feel good about using organic products. And we launched our Green Club with Charlie Dimmock. The local council chose us to launch it as a West Sussex initiative because they felt we fitted better than high-street stores. It went incredibly well. Your membership gets you special discount, events, newsletters and eco-friendly gardening advice."


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