Supplier Bridge Farm Horticulture is using wood fibre and natural by-products to replace peat

Tesco has announced it has become the first UK retailer to go peat-free on its British-grown bedding plants.

Tesco has cut out peat from bedding plant production

Tesco has cut out peat from bedding plant production

The move, which the supermarket said was aimed at lowering its carbon footprint, follows on from it only selling peat-free compost from earlier this year.

Tesco is working in partnership with ornamental plant supplier Bridge Farm Horticulture in Spalding to achieve the goal. It said the move would also help preserve the UK’s and Ireland’s peatlands, which provide a range of environmental benefits as well as being home to many rare plants, insects and birds.

The move is significant as Tesco is one of the UK’s largest sellers of bedding plants, with about 40 million plants sold each year.

Through the change, Tesco noted that it has reduced its peat use by nearly 9,000 cubic metres a year. This has reduced the carbon footprint of these products by more than 1,200 tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent emissions) a year – a reduction of 75 per cent.

Tesco horticulture category buying manager Alex Edwards said: “Going peat free on our British-grown bedding plants is right for our customers - we’ve listened to their feedback and have worked hard to prove we can deliver the same great quality, but now being better for our planet.

“Looking ahead, we hope this approach can be adopted on a wider-scale – it’s our aim to deliver this across a broader range of plants and flowers.”

Instead of peat, all bedding plants grown for Tesco by Bridge Farm Horticulture will use alternatives such as wood fibre and natural by-products. The supermarket said its full range of products from the supplier have all been successfully trialled in peat-free compost, with no impact on quality or product life.

Bridge Farm Horticulture managing director Louise Motala said: “We felt as strongly as Tesco that it was an important step to remove all peat from our compost formulations. To enable us to do so we have started propagating the majority of our seed and cutting young plants ourselves.

“This investment in our facility and capabilities has not only helped us to deliver on this commitment, it has also given us greater flexibility and control of the whole supply chain.”

Plant health minister Trudy Harrison added: ”Our peatlands are an incredibly valuable natural resource. They play a crucial role in locking up carbon, providing habitats for wildlife and helping with flood mitigation.

“Tesco’s achievement demonstrates the viability of effective peat-free alternatives and marks an another important stride in reducing our nation’s peat use.

“I am confident this move will encourage other retailers to follow their forward-thinking example, as we move towards the complete ban for selling peat to amateur gardeners which comes into force in 2024.”