The Growing Media Association (GMA), a group of manufacturers and suppliers producing over 90% of growing media used in UK domestic and commercial sectors, continue to make progress with the industry road map. Timelines for two initiatives are announced today demonstrating the action and commitment towards achieving sustainable bagged growing media for the consumer market in a manageable timescale.
One of the initiatives included in the road map is the Responsible Sourcing Guide which will allow all growing media ingredients to be consistently labelled. The scheme uses seven criteria for indicating environmental performance for growing media and these are: energy use, water use, social compliance, habitat and biodiversity, pollution, renewability and resource use efficiency.
This unique approach will enable each ingredient to be scored ensuring that environmental performance for all ingredients is taken into account. Once scores are available bags will be able to be labelled using a recognisable traffic light system. This approach will mean that consumers will be able to understand bag contents at a glance enabling them to make better informed purchase decisions. This demonstrates GMA’s commitment to improved on pack labelling with the aim of introducing such an approach onto bags for the 2020/21 season.
Steve Harper, GMA lead for the Responsible Sourcing Scheme comments, “It is important that the environmental performance of all growing media ingredients are assessed and that all growing media is made from raw materials that are environmentally and socially responsibly sourced. This is where the Responsible Sourcing Scheme can make a real difference. By the end of 2019 an auditable scheme will be in place allowing all growing media manufacturers to undertake an audit by the end of 2020.”
As part of the road map towards reducing the use of peat to zero in growing media within a manageable timescale, a university research project has been commissioned to look at the socio-economic impact of the use of all materials and the barriers to change. The results of this are expected in 2020.
The road map also includes goals such as improving the quality of green compost so that it can fulfil its potential in the growing media market through the widespread adoption of existing protocols.