At Cowell’s we believe that we have an important role to play in protecting the environment and reducing the impact that our business has on it. We take this responsibility very seriously and actively encourage our customers to try to do the same.
Waste & Recycling
Product packaging is reused whenever possible. The majority of cardboard boxes are reused when dispatching customer orders through our Webshop. Any excess cardboard is baled on site and sent for recycling. Plastic plant trays are offered to our customers at the checkouts to securely transport their plants.
Wooden pallets are returned to suppliers for reuse or offered to our local community for upcycling projects. Any other surplus wood is collected by Newcastle Wood Recycling CIC a local organisation on a mission to divert wood from the local waste stream through their wood recycling service, while creating employment, training and volunteering opportunities to people in the community.
We are now using ‘recycling blue’ pots for our home grown plants. These pots have been developed to increase sustainability and are manufactured using ‘Closed Loop Recycling’. Closed loop recycling is the process by which waste is collected, recycled and purposed to make something new. Effectively, the waste does a full circle without having a negative impact on the environment.
We are also supporting the Horticultural Trade Association (HTA) led initiative to reduce the volume of non-recyclable black plastic used with the horticultural industry through the introduction of taupe coloured plant pots. The taupe coloured pots are carbon pigment free making them widely recyclable through kerbside recycling schemes.
We capture rainwater from the roof of our greenhouse and multi-span poly tunnels to reuse on our plant area and nursery.
We water our plants in the morning or evening to ensure that water is used efficiently and not lost to evaporation during the heat of the day.
Our watering and irrigation equipment is kept in the best possible condition to ensure water is not wasted through leaks.
We grow a large number of plants on our on-site nursery, this minimises the impact of transportation effects.
Our buyers source the best quality plants available to limit wastage.
Our plant team take pride in nurturing our plants and ensuring that we are selling quality plants to our customers. We are also proactive in offering advice to customers on the care of their plants.
We source plants and products from the UK and local suppliers whenever possible.
We only sell wooden products from reputable companies that source sustainable wood. A large number of our wooden products carry the FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) logo which guarantees the wood used has come from forests managed with consideration for people, wildlife and the environment, and that the trees harvested are replaced or allowed to regenerate naturally.
We are continually looking for new products to help our customers garden in an environmentally friendly manner.
We recognise that peat bogs provide a unique habitat for flora and fauna and are important stores of carbon which need to be sustained but an immediate ban on peat use is unrealistic as access to the amount and quality of alternative materials needed is not yet in place.
Our aim is to manage, minimise and eventually eliminate our peat use in a controlled manner with the goal of removing it from retail sales by 2025. We will use declining amounts of peat and we will continue to ensure that it has been extracted with the minimum amount of environmental impact, and we will not buy or sell peat that has been extracted from designated conservation areas, such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).
Our own 'Cowell’s Professional Grade All-Purpose Compost' is produced from the finest quality sphagnum moss peat from ecologically managed, licensed peat bogs, not from any SSSIs. The company that produces our product are very aware of environmental concerns and are extremely careful to reconstitute the bogs that are used so they can naturally regenerate for future generations.
We sell a range of peat free composts, including our own brand ‘Cowell’s Peat Free All Purpose Compost’ and actively encourage our customers to consider them by displaying comprehensive point of sale and offering competitive pricing.
All growing media sold by Cowell’s complies with the HTA's Growing Media Initiatives Peat Sourcing Policy and we support the HTA and Garden Centre Association (GCA) involvement in The Growing Media Task Force. The task force is working together to plan for the removal of peat within the industry and campaigning to ensure Government support to bring to market new and novel alternative materials, as well helping to unlock the lack of availability of tried and tested alternatives. The task force’s latest statement can be found here