How to go peat free at home

How to go peat free at home

Our homes and gardens have an important role in the fight against climate change. Help preserve vital peatland by going peat free.

Go peat free to protect the planet!

Peat has been a major ingredient of the compost used in gardening for many years. This peat is dug out of wild places, damaging some of the last remaining peatlands in both the UK and overseas in places like Eastern Europe. This process also releases carbon into the atmosphere, accelerating climate change. Sadly, more than 94% of the UK’s lowland peat bogs have been destroyed or damaged, and a wealth of wildlife has disappeared along with it. This vital habitat isn't easily replaced. 

Peat-free growing media, including compost and soil conditioners, are increasingly available however many products still use peat as their organic ingredient. Even ‘Low peat’ products, those that claim to be from ‘sustainable sources’ and the soil in potted plants can still contain a high proportion of peat.

 

Take the pledge to go peat-free in your garden!

 

Top tips on going peat free

Peat compost

1. Check all purchases - specifically labeled peat free compost is available, you may need to shop around to find it. However peat's not just in the bagged soil that we buy. It's also used for many of our potted plants and shrubs, or the soil 'plugs' or 'pellets' that often come in gift boxes or similar, that you add water to to hydrate. Check labels for peat-based materials, and make sure that peat is not a component of potted house plants or indoor potting mix too.
 

2. Be vocal - the more we ask for peat-free options, the more likely stores will stock it. Help demonstrate consumer demand for peat free options by asking your local retailer what’s available.

Potted plant

3. Use alternatives - there are a number of peat-free alternatives; all providing different conditions for growing. The best thing to use will depend on what you want to grow and the existing soil you have in your garden. You may want to research and experiment with:
- Bark chippings
- Coir
- Wood fibre
Composting.

4. Look for retailers that are committed to phasing out peat sales

It can be difficult to tell whether the compost on sale in garden centres and supermarkets contains peat or not – details on peat content can be hidden away, and several ranges contain both peat-free and non-peat-free versions, so it can be confusing! For example, traditional recipe John Innes contains peat, whilst there are peat-free composts such as ‘SylvaGrow with John Innes’ that contain a peat-free John Innes formulation. Some brands or producers are completely peat-free, such as ALL products made by Melcourt and Dalefoot.

The Wildlife Trusts recently undertook a survey of major retailers: the table below includes some of the findings from this as well as information from retailers that have been in contact with us or made announcements since. Please note this is not an exhaustive list of retailers.

The list below shows the peat-free composts that the larger retailers stock, to help you when shopping for your garden or allotment this year. Shoppers should also look out for peat-free plants - B&Q, Dobbies, Blue Diamond group garden centres, Hillier and Asda are all stocking ranges of plants grown without using peat.

Read the list of peat-free composts

 

Retailer and peat-free target Peat-free composts Peat-free plants

RHS

RHS compost sales have been peat-free since 2020.
The charity plans for all of their gardens, show displays and plant sales to be peat-free by 2025.

All composts sold by RHS are peat- free. Their garden centres variously stock RHS Melcourt Sylvagrow products:

Organic peat-free compost 50L / 15L

Peat-free compost 50L / 15L

Peat-free ericaceous compost 50L / 15L

Peat-free compost with John Innes 15L / 50L, Peat-free tub n basket 50L / 15L

Peat-free John Innes number 1 / number 2 / number 3 / seed (all 15L)

RHS Melcourt planter for organic growing 45L, as well as specialist peat-free houseplant composts:

  • Thrive peat-free carnivorous compost 0.3L / 1L
  • Growth Technology peat-free repotting mixes: bonsai focus 2L / cactus focus 8L / citrus focus 8L / houseplant focus 8L / orchid focus 3L or 8L)

Other growing media including Bloomin’ Amazing triple action soil enricher Supersoil 25L and Coco grow 75L (5kg)

The charity are working with suppliers to eradicate peat use in the plants they sell, so that sales will be peat-free by 2025.

Travis Perkins

Plans to go 100% peat-free this year.

Travis Perkins sell Supagrow Peat-free multipurpose compost 50L. Travis Perkins do not sell plants.

Co-op

Co-op will only stock peat-free composts from spring 2021.

Co-op will be selling Westland's New Horizon peat-Free compost at over 1,100 of its stores and forecourts.  

Dobbies

Dobbies announced they are bringing forward their peat-free commitment, and their compost sales will now be peat-free in 2021.

Dobbies own-brand peat-free multipurpose compost is one of their best-sellers. They also stock:

A full range of New Horizon products, sell Bloomin' Amazing triple action soil enricher

Miracle Gro peat-free compost

Growth Technology peat-free Houseplant composts.

They are introducing a new range of peat-free products this year.

Dobbies sell a selection of peat-free houseplants, ornamental & fruit trees, shrubs, pot- grown Christmas trees, and perennials.
Waitrose
Waitrose have pledged to end sales of bagged peat-based compost by 2022. 
Waitrose told us they have 'many peat-free products in branches' but did not provide details.  Waitrose did not state that they sell peat-free plants.

B&Q

The company has announced a commitment to being 100% peat-free across its bagged growing media in 2023.

B&Q told us they sell the following own-brand peat-free bagged composts:

GoodHome multi-purpose compost 10L / 20L / 50L / 100L

GoodHome multi-purpose enriched compost 50L

Verve herb compost 10L

GoodHome grow bag 27L

GoodHome garden compost 50L

Verve rose, tree and shrub compost 50L

Verve seed & cutting compost 10L / 20L

Verve container & basket compost 20L / 50L

Verve bulb planting compost 20L

Verve houseplant compost 10L

Verve cacti & succulent compost 5L

Verve orchid compost 5L

Verve citrus compost 10L

In 2014 B&Q introduced a range of bedding plants that are 100% peat-free.

Wickes

Plans to phase out peat sales by 2025.

Westland New Horizon All Plant Compost in 50L / 60L

Wickes Multi-purpose Peat-free Compost 50L

They are also launching new peat-free product this year.

Wickes do not currently stock peat-free plants.

Hillier

Plans for all plants across their nurseries to be peat-free by 2022.
Plans to phase out peat sales in garden centres but no end date given.

Hillier peat-free multipurpose compost

Bloomin’ Amazing triple action soil enricher

Hillier's own tree production is 100% peat-free and production of all other plants across their nurseries will be peat-free for 2022, ensuring that all home-grown plants sold are peat-free.

Blue Diamond

Plans to phase out peat sales but no end date given.

Garden Centres that are part of the Blue Diamond Group will be stocking a large range of peat-free growing media, some of which are trials of new lines in specific stores. They plan to sell:

Sylvagrow products (Peat Free & Organic Grow Bag

Peat-Free & Organic Multipurpose

Peat-Free John Innes Multi-purpose,  Multi-Purpose RHS Peat Free 50L Ericaceous

John Innes Seed

John Innes No 1, No 2,  No3

New Horizon products including All Purpose Compost 50L, Veg Growing Compost, Vegetable Planter, Peat Free and Organic

Miracle Gro Peat Free Compost

Coco Grow products trialled in 15 stores (Coco Grow, Coco Grow + 1Kg / 5kg, Coco Boost 1kg / 5kg, and Coco Dots)

Blue Diamond Garden Centres sell peat-free plants within the following ranges: Ornamental and fruit trees, roses, soft fruit, Indoor plants, pot bedding and pack bedding plants.

Asda

Plans to phase out peat sales but no end date given.
They plan to remove peat from own-brand products by 2030.

Asda stock their own-brand Asda Peat Free Compost (50L). Asda stock a range of peat-free container and houseplants.

Homebase

Plans to phase out peat sales but no end date given.

Homebase sell their own-brand Homebase peat-free Compost 50L, as well as a range of New Horizon products: 

New Horizon All Plant Compost 20L / 50L

New Horizon Vegetable Growing Compost 50L

New Horizon Tomato Planter

Homebase did not state that they sell peat-free plants.

Lidl

Plans to phase out peat sales but no end date given.

Lidl told us that in their current range they offer a 20L peat-free multi-purpose compost. Lidl did not state that they sell peat-free plants.

Tesco

Aiming for 'minimal use' of peat in the future. No further details given.

Tesco told us they have some peat-free products available but gave no further details. Tesco did not state that they sell peat-free plants.

 

What is peat?

Peat is made up of decayed organic matter and vegetation, developing slowly under particular, wet conditions over thousands of years. Peat can be found in wetlands such as bogs and moors, and its composition makes it home to a unique ecosystem.

Peat bogs are home to all sorts of plants, including colourful sphagnum mosses, insect-eating plants, and curious plants such as ‘butterwort’ and ‘bog myrtle’. They also provide an environment for rare dragonflies, spiders and other invertebrates, and a feeding ground for birds, such as golden plover, meadow pipit and skylark.

When it comes to climate change, peatlands are vital. The excess carbon in our atmosphere is causing the planet to heat up. Peat bogs act like a sponge, absorbing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it like a sink.

The UK’s peatlands store around 3.2 billion tonnes of carbon and alongside the oceans, are the second largest store of carbon on the planet whilst covering a much smaller area.

Compost

Demand an end to the sale of peat compost

Sign the petition