It's difficult to come up with specifics rather than generalities while talking about all our plants and seeds, as they're sourced from a number of different growers and harvesters. We're all committed to more sustainable production, however. Habitat Aid is a certified BCorporation.
We ship some hedge plants ourselves, and we're doing that in cardboard boxes rather than the recyclable extruded plastic bags some of our suppliers still use. We send pond plants out in cardboard boxes. Fruit trees and some other bare root planting and hedging are wrapped in plastic but insulated with barley straw, and any (recycled) plastic pots secured in compostable bags.
The plastic trays in which our plug plants come are recycled, and we use recyclable woven polypropylene sacks for bulk seed orders.
We know there's nothing worse than receiving a pallet swathed in cling film. Some of our nurseries do this, but at least it's recyclable. If we're sending a pallet out from here we use biodegradable cling film.
We use powder-proof paper seed packets (i.e. with no plastic or foil insert), biodegradable grip and seal bags for small bulk orders, and grass paper bags for anything a bit bigger. We use the same grip and seal bags for shipping oxygenating pond plants.
I'm pleased to say we now offer compostable hedge guards, thank goodness, and will be selling biodegradable hedge guards and compostable forest guards from autumn 2022.
The only of our growers to use peat based compost is Cheviot, who are still using it to grow heather until they can work out a good alternative.
None of our plants, bulbs or seeds have been anywhere near a neonicotinoid ; we have lobbied for a blanket ban of these pesticides since early 2011.
No pesticides or fungicides are used in the production of our wildflower plants, aquatic plants, native trees and hedging, and wildflower bulbs. Fungicides may be used on our fruit trees. Herbicide may be used to clear seedbeds for seeds and trees, and to selectively manage some of the sites from which our seed mixes are harvested. Our suppliers are moving to replace chemical with mechanical weed and grass control, and we are hopeful that over time more of them will become organically certified.
With the exception of some ornamental bulbs and shrubs/trees, all the plants and seeds we sell are grown in the UK from UK stock (we're hopeful that there might soon be no exceptions). This has always been one of our core principles - for many reasons - and significantly reduces our carbon footprint, as does our busines model, in which suppliers generally ship directly to customers. We heat our administrative office with a biomass boiler.
I guess given the quantities of trees and plants we sell we could claim to be massively carbon negative!
Our suppliers all comply with government regulations and legislation to make sure that plant health remains at the highest of standards and the risk of disease entering the UK is controlled and minimised. All the native plants and wildflower seed we sell, as well as the grafted fruit trees, are grown in the UK from UK origin seed, which significantly reduces the risk of transmitting disease.
Those of our suppliers who handle imported stock do not source plants from regions where Xylella is present. They have different biosecurity policies in place to reflect their different businesses, which are available on request.
We currently sell some bulbs imported from Holland. These are sourced from a grower who has Milieukeur certification.
We only buy plants from approved suppliers who share our values and have been audited to demonstrate best practice regarding plant health. Our suppliers are all plant passported in accordance with current legislation, as are we. Most ot the plant growers we use are certified members of the Plant Healthy scheme.
We handle a small number of plants ourselves (not seed or bulbs), so we have a DEFRA plant passport. Our harvesters send the seed we sell to All Things Rural in Alcester, who package and distribute it for us.