For Peat’s Sake – B&Q Calls for Peat-Free Compost to Boost Carbon Storage

11 April 2022 by Maya Israel
blog author

B&Q is urging the UK government to ban sales of bagged peat-based compost by 2024 to enable peatlands to optimise carbon sequestering.

The home improvement and garden living retailer set a goal last year to be 100 per cent peat-free across its bagged range in 2023 and is focusing on expanding peat-free product innovations and changes across its supply chain.

With its own brand bagged compost already 100 per cent peat-free and the government’s consultation on peat having recently closed, the retailer urges that sales of compost to gardeners in England and Wales should only be of the peat-free variety.

The company, which is part of Kingfisher Plc, wants to protect peatlands, naturally waterlogged systems which are currently the world’s largest land carbon store, holding nearly 30 per cent of soil carbon, despite peatlands only covering around three per cent of the world’s surface.

Carbon stored inside a peat bog is released as carbon dioxide during the peat extraction process which contributes to the climate crisis, equating to more than five per cent of all global human carbon emissions. 

Besides acting as a natural carbon storage facility, peatlands reduce flooding and provide unique ecosystems for wildlife including the black darter dragonfly and heath butterflies.

To ensure peatlands continue to sequester carbon, rather than emit greenhouse gases (GHGs), countries should ensure they are including peatland conservation and restoration in their commitments to international agreements on climate change, including the Paris Agreement.

Steve Guy, Market Director Outdoor, B&Q, said:“At B&Q we have a long history of developing our outdoor range to help our customers have greener, healthier gardens, and this work continues today. The protection of our peatlands is very important to preserve habitats and slow climate change, which is why we are calling on the government to ban the sale of bagged peat compost.

“At B&Q, we are continuing to put innovation at the forefront of our approach to ensure high-quality and affordable peat-free compost is on the market to help gardeners transition to peat-free alternatives.”

Peat-free compost is made of composted bark fines, coir, wood fibre and green waste with a mix of coarse and fine particles to create a balanced compost containing enough water and air for root growth.

B&Q first introduced peat-free compost 30 years ago and has been working with suppliers ever since to improve the quality of peat-free composts and secure sufficient volumes to achieve its peat-free commitment.

The company has collaborated with suppliers over the past four years to develop a high-quality peat-free formulation under the GoodHome and Verve brands which has been developed using coir and other ingredients to replace peat.

All B&Q compost suppliers are members of the Growing Media Association (GMA) which is part of the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA). The GMA ensures safety and quality standards are maintained for growing media in the UK and Ireland.

Maya Israel, Consultant - Contract & Interim Recruitment at Acre, said: “It’s great to see companies setting achievable targets and expanding them to cover the whole of their supply chain.

“Implementing peat-free products will help hugely in carbon reduction as well as other benefits to the environment and wildlife, and it’s so important that other organisations take similar action.”

Coming from a background of interim recruitment specialising in HSEQ personnel, Maya has supported numerous stakeholders in large-scale renewable energy projects across the EMEA region. Working with a range of HSEQ professionals from director level to fieldwork, covering multiple topics such as environmental impact, to engineering & design – all things health and safety.