Our environmental policy

Since 1942 Torwood has been at the heart of the local community as a family run, independent business.  Everything we do as individuals and as a small business aims to grow our centre in a responsible and sustainable way, as part of the community we have served for over 75 years.  Generations of local families have trusted us for their gardening needs and we hope to continue to share our experience and love of the gardening with future generations. 

We believe that businesses and individuals all have a responsibility to protect our environment. Gardening in its essence is great for the environment; planting trees and shrubs helps to trap carbon dioxide, many houseplants remove other harmful chemicals from the air we breathe, and being in contact with nature has a whole host of other benefits for health and mental wellbeing.  This is why we’ve taken the lead with our staff, suppliers and regular customers, making protecting the environment central to our business.

We live in a changing world.  We work hard to stay ahead of government led changes in legislation and environmental regulation, while listening to the views and ideas of our customers and within our industry to stay ahead of innovation and encourage sustainable development.

Together with our employees, we observe a number of commitments, which are set out in the following statement.

 

  • We use local suppliers and produce wherever possible – one of our bedding plant suppliers is just next door!
  • We implement staff training to raise awareness of plant husbandry to reduce waste and minimise the use of chemicals
  • Wherever possible we do not spray weed-killers or pesticides instead encouraging natural insect predators and where necessary using organic alternatives
  • We source and promote bee and butterfly friendly plants which are not only good for the environment but have been grown without the use of pesticides to encourage pollinating insects
  • Our staff are trained in and passionate about the benefits of organic gardening and grow your own. We encourage customers to buy organic alternatives to common garden chemicals including organic weed-killers, pesticides and plant feeds
  • We actively promote recycling both internally and amongst our customers
  • We separate and sort our recycling for our waste provider to make sure as much as possible is recycled and reused efficiently
  • We actively promote the use of recycled products and materials
  • We encourage staff to turn off electrical equipment, such as lights, computers, laptops and photocopiers when not in use
  • We work hard when sourcing new product ranges to minimise the environmental impact of both production and distribution, as well as looking for products and suppliers which responsibly source, for example FSC wood and recycled plastics
  • We work extensively within the community including local nurseries, schools, charities and gardening groups to encourage awareness of the environment through education in the form of talks, centre visits, tree planting and ‘Grow Your Own’ demonstrations
  • Our regular marketing and social media content encourage awareness and responsible gardening. Our expert staff are always on hand in-store, online and by phone to answer questions and promote best practice
  • We plant trees, wildlife friendly gardens, bird feeders and houses at Torwood to create a greener, more natural environment for wildlife, staff and customers alike
  • We work with local societies including the RSPB, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Falkirk Ranger Service
  • We provide plants, materials and advice for other local businesses and organisations as part of dozens of new local gardening projects every year
  • We have supported the Falkirk Gardening Awards for over 10 years as a way to acknowledge the work local people are doing to create a greener community
  • We have had 200 solar panels since 2010 which produce approximately 35,000 kwh of energy annually, enough to fulfil 20% of our energy requirements
  • We have had two biomass boilers since 2015 which produce almost all of our heating requirements using renewable FSC approved wood pellets
  • As older units are replaced, we are moving to with low energy bulbs and housings
  • Our purpose-built centre has two rain water capture tanks which store thousands of litres to use when watering plants, reducing our need to use treated tap water
  • As we are removed from the council sewage system, we have our own system and reed bed which cleans the waste water produced on site
  • Our restaurant, Blossoms, use almost exclusively glass bottles, paper straws and compostable coffee cups taking out the need for single use plastics in our environment
  • Blossoms also recycle all of their glass, food, coffee grounds and cooking oil
  • We have reduced the percentage of customers using carrier bags and plastic liners by providing customers with reused boxes to carry home their plants
  • We will continue to look at ways to reduce our carbon footprint with regular energy use and waste disposal audits to make sure we are doing as much as we can to protect our environment

Peat Policy

Peat based compost has been used in gardening since we started our business back in 1942.  Peat is harvested from peat bogs, usually upland areas particularly in Scotland and Ireland where over many thousands of years plant material in bogs dies but does not break down quickly, instead decomposing slowly to accumulate as peat, a nutrient rich soil.

Peat bogs support unique upland wildlife, act as a store for carbon and rainwater and releasing it slowly to the rivers. Because peat is made slowly, its extraction is happening faster than it can be replaced, so we are committed to finding other growing mediums with either reduced peat content or no peat at all.

The government aims to see a reduction and eventual phase out of peat in horticulture, both commercially and for home gardeners, by 2020.  This target is ambitious with very little public understanding of the issues and alternatives available. 

For over a decade we have been committed to supporting sustainable alternatives to peat, and stock a number of reduced-peat and peat-free products.  We have information available in store to help customers make informed and responsible decisions and will happily discuss alternatives.  We have personally tried and tested these products to ensure they are safe, look and smell fine, and have the same water needs and good rooting structure to grow quality plants. 

Look out for logos on our growing media products, and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask a member of staff should you need any assistance on this or any other aspect of your growing media choice.

Plastic Pots

 

As well as the standard recycling of plastics, papers and metals we work with our waste provider to recycle all of our black plastic pots and trays in which most of our plants are transported.  There is an industry wide commitment to finding sustainable solutions in this area which we are actively working to support.

While most black pots are in theory easily recycled through the council’s kerbside bins there is a lack of understanding amongst the council, recycling centres and general public as to how this can be done.  Part of the issue is that there are over 40,000 types of plastic split into 7 different groups, each with different recycling needs.  On top of this pots must be clean and dirt free to prevent contamination of the recycling process and allow plastics to be turned into new, usable materials.

As you will know there are new coloured bins being brought in by the council to help us all separate our recycling better and to improve the efficiency of the process.  In recent months we have been in conversation with the local council and councillors to bring this issue to their attention and encourage positive dialogue towards sustainable solutions within our local community.  We will be interested to see how different types of plastics fit into this new system and will work with all parties to make sure the information is clearly available to everyone once available.

This year we began stocking taupe coloured pots as they have gradually become available from our plant suppliers.  These have been developed to be a standard colour and composition allowing everyone to recycle them efficiently and reduce the waste produced by horticulture.  With larger plants grown on from seedlings to larger specimens for months and sometimes many years before they are available to the public this will be a gradual process to prevent current socks of black plastic going to waste.  Many of our suppliers are gradually phasing these pots in and you will see them become a normal part of our plant area in coming years.