Skip to content

The alternatives to peat compost

  • by JW

Meeting both growers’ and ‘net zero’/sustainability criteria.


For some years now, there has been a lot of interest in peat moors – and their importance:

Futures Forum: Peat – between the moor and the garden – and the climate

A year ago we looked at ‘peat-free compost’:

Using peat-free compost – Vision Group for Sidmouth

And there was big news back in May:

The UK government plans to ban peat use among amateur gardeners by 2024. It had originally hoped garden centres in England would voluntarily stop selling peat-based products by 2020. But peat is a cheap resource and swapping it for compost made from alternatives makes little financial sense for these companies without binding regulation. As a result, peat still accounts for around 35% of all compost sales – an increase of 9% in 2020 alone.

With the proposed ban and a pledge to restore 35,000 hectares of peatland across the country by the year after, retailers can no longer delay the transition to peat-free compost. Happily for green-fingered consumers, evidence suggests more ecologically benign compost can still keep gardens blooming beautifully.

Peat compost to be banned – luckily, green alternatives are just as good for your garden


A ban on peat compost for gardeners has been in discussion for years. Image Bernd Thaller.

There has been quite a spat, however, as reported by the Sun:

GARDENERS’ World host Monty Don has hit back at viewers after he was slammed for “celebrating” a ban on a a gardening essential… But the TV host was adamant the right change was being made: “There are already a number of different, widely available peat-free composts. There will be more. Climate change knows no national boundaries – we all have to do as much as we can, here and now.”

Gardeners’ World’s Monty Don hits back after being slammed by viewers for ‘celebrating’ ban on garden essential


And indeed, we have to do what we can.

Here’s a recent piece from Dr Aurélie Bovi, writing for the UK Agri-Tech Centre CHAP:

With the UK about to host the UN global climate change summit COP26 in Glasgow later this year, and ambitious net-zero emissions targets, the pressure on accelerating the ban on the sale of all peat-containing substrates to gardeners is mounting.

Can alternatives to peat meet industry needs and net zero targets? – CHAP

And here she is this week giving us part two of her series:

Here in part two, she examines the currently available alternatives and their suitability to meet both growers and ‘net zero’/sustainability criteria.

Five horticultural peat-alternatives: how sustainable are they? – CHAP


photo: Government hails ‘net zero for nature’ | Wicked Leeks