The harmful effects of harvesting peat for use in compost have been widely reported for some time. But calls for peat products to be banned have now stepped up a gear, with organisations like the National Trust joining the campaign.
The impact of peat products on the environment
Peatlands are the largest natural carbon store, meaning that they store large amounts of carbon from partially decomposed organic matter, that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere.
Peatlands are also essential for protecting biodiversity, as they are among the most valuable ecosystems on the planet, inhabited by various butterflies, mosses, toads, and more. Needless to say, it causes huge damage to the planet when peatlands are destroyed, as huge amounts of carbon are released into the atmosphere, and many different organisms' habitats are lost. In the UK, we destroy around 280,000 tonnes of peatland every year.
How can we help to protect peatlands?
One of the most effective ways we can all help to protect our peatlands is by choosing to buy peat-free compost, such as Pro-Grow by Veolia.
Made from the 400,000 tonnes of household organic waste we collect each year, Pro-Grow is a more sustainable, circular choice that still offers the same gardening benefits.
Around 4 million tonnes of peat-free compost is produced in the UK every year, and this market continues to grow as the harmful effects of peat products become more recognised.
Choosing to go peat-free is a critical step while we wait for the government to enforce a ban on peat products, which has been targeted for 2024.
Investing in protection and restoration
But it's not enough just to ban the sale of peat products - we need to invest in their protection and restoration, especially as the UK is one of the world's top ten countries in terms of peatland area.
This is exactly why the Veolia Environmental Trust awarded £840,000 of funding to the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, for the purchase of 34 hectares of peatland. This enabled the launch of an ambitious species reintroduction programme, including the planting of 80,000 plants and the reintroduction of the large heath butterfly. Projects such as these are vital in the mission to reverse the damage that has been done to peatlands.