Former Sustainable Growing Media Task Force (SGMTF) chair Alan Knight says there will soon be a time when "peat is too precious to use in mainstream gardens and horticulture".
Writing in RHS The Garden magazine, Knight, who convened the industry move towards phasing out peat by 2020 (retail) and 2030 (professional growing), said: "A solution is coming, for the growing-media industry is giving the issue its due attention, but a resolution is needed and needed soon.
"This can only result in a future where peat is too precious to use in mainstream gardens and horticulture."
Knight ran the Government's task force throughout 2012 and now industry committees and bodies are taking the process on.
He added: "The garden and horticultural industry is a natural partner to sustainability and ‘sustainable development’: that which can be maintained without exhausting natural resources or causing ecological harm. There is already awareness of how ‘grow your own’ and attracting wildlife to gardens (which both present a commercial opportunity) can contribute to sustainability.
"No one expects ‘grow your own’ to make a meaningful dent on the carbon footprint of food, let alone feed a nation, but it reconnects food with soil and weather. The educational benefits to children and adults seeing food emerging from the soil is critical for people to value food as the end product of a natural process and not a cheap commodity from supermarkets. Perhaps they will waste less, maybe they will value the seasons more.
"As well as growing vegetables and attracting wildlife, gardeners have the choice to use peat-free rather than peat-based growing media.
"The sustainability case against peat is a carbon issue as well as a wildlife-habitat issue. gardeners’ loyalty to peat creates a division with environmentalists when they should be the closest allies. There are new alternatives to peat that have a significantly different formulation to the coir or composted-wood mixes that created the peat hardliners."