William Sinclair said the new product, Sincro-BoostPlus, has similar qualities to peat, namely: good water retention qualities, a low nutrient level, nitrogen stable and lightweight. The product also looks like peat and is made from renewable sources, the company said.
The firm's specialist topsoil subsidiary, Freeland Horticulture, has spent "several millions of pounds" developing a new technology to resolve all the problems of using green compost for peat replacement.
Freeland has applied that technology to a by-product from civic amenity green waste that currently is "very difficult to use and frequently becomes a problem material that requires disposal". This material is treated to remove salts, glass, plastics, metals and stones that normally contaminate the green waste.
Bernard Burns, chief executive of William Sinclair said:
"For far too long consumers have had to endure poor quality peat alternatives. As highlighted in recent Which? Gardening reports, too many products do not meet gardener's expectations or support plant growth satisfactorily, a situation which William Sinclair is working to change.
"Following substantial investment, our technological breakthrough resolves the problem of using green compost as a growing media and at the same time reduces the peat industry's carbon footprint. As most of the raw material used by Sincro-BoostPlus is sourced from urban areas, there will be only limited transport required to the get the product to the conurbations where most gardeners are located.
"This is a significant development for our industry. Utilising the four million tonnes of civic amenity and garden waste in the UK is the most environmentally friendly source of peat free raw material.
"It is essential that raw material supplies are consistently of good quality. If the growing media industry is to reach the government's peat free target, and we can, then it must be remembered that every bad bag of peat free drives users back to peat. We believe that legislation is required to standardise and police consumer product quality and greater collaboration is needed amongst all parties to meet the 2020 target."