Source: Morrisons

The supermarket said it would use more sustainable alternatives such as coir compost 

Morrisons has announced it will phase out peat-based composts at all of its 497 stores and 303 garden centres across the UK by the end of the year, ahead of plans for a government ban in 2024.

The supermarket, which sells more than two million bags of compost a year, said it would use more sustainable alternatives to peat-based. 

These include coir compost, made using the waste husks and fibres of coconuts that are a by-product from the food industry.

Peatlands occupy around 12% of the UK’s land area, with research showing they can hold up to thirty times more carbon per hectare than a healthy tropical rainforest. They can also help to prevent floods and contribute towards biodiversity.

However, 80% of British peatlands have been lost or damaged, with the Wildlife Trust reporting the peat extracted for UK horticulture in 2020 alone could release up to 880,000 tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime.

Last year, Co-op became the first UK supermarket to completely end the sale of peat-based bagged compost in all its stores.

“More people are gardening and our research shows that customers also want to protect our natural habitats,” said Dan Townend, gardening buyer at Morrisons. “Peatland is actually the country’s biggest natural carbon store and its removal is affecting the environment.

“Our new coir range is just as good as traditional composts – and means we’re using the natural waste materials from coconut growing to fertilise our gardens instead.”

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “I applaud this commitment as a hugely positive step towards a peat-free future for the UK’s gardening trade, ahead of our proposed ban on peat in the retail sector by the end of this parliament.

“This bold move will help gardeners across the UK to make the sustainable choice and go peat-free – to protect our peatlands, cut carbon emissions, and safeguard our environment for generations to come.”