As a gardener, you can help the environment by creating spaces for wildlife or producing your own food. You can help to save water, and recycle unwanted household items and food waste. Here are a few steps you can take to make your gardening greener.
Ditch the peat
Help protect environmentally precious peat bogs by choosing peat-free mulches, soil improvers and fertilisers. These are just as good or better than peat.
Peat-free products are widely available at high street stores and garden centres. Check that the bag says “peat-free” or ask an assistant.
Use pesticides responsibly and only as a last resort
Some pesticides can harm people, wildlife and the environment. Only use them as a last resort, and work with nature to control pests and weeds instead.
Get a water butt
Thousands of litres of water fall on the average rooftop every year. You can easily save on mains water by collecting some of this to use on your garden. Water companies and local councils often sell water butts at subsidised prices.
Compost garden and kitchen waste
A third of people in the UK who have a garden say they compost
Start a compost heap or get a compost bin and put your kitchen and garden waste to good use in your garden. Ask your local council if subsidised compost bins are available in your area.
Many councils also provide facilities at recycling centres for larger amounts of garden waste which are recycled and turned into compost.
Encourage insects, hedgehogs and other wild animals by creating a variety of places for them to live and providing sources of food. Flowering plants that offer nectar and pollen will attract bees, butterflies and other insects. Trees and shrubs that produce berries will help feed birds.
Pull on a pullover
Put on an extra layer when it gets cold outside rather than using an outdoor heater. Heaters are very energy-hungry, producing high levels of carbon emissions, which contribute to climate change.
Choose your wood carefully
Look for labels on timber, or wood products like sheds and garden furniture, that show they have been produced sustainably. Common labelling schemes include the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC).
Reclaim and recycle
Give old timber, metal and plastic a new lease of life by buying decking, planters and garden ornaments made out of reclaimed materials. Use your imagination to turn old containers of all kinds into unusual plant pots and containers for growing fruit and vegetables.
Choose your charcoal
Make sure the charcoal you use on your barbecue comes from sustainably managed forests. Look for labels from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), or other forest certification schemes.
Grow your own
Growing just a little bit of your own produce can help reduce the environmental costs of packaging and transporting food.