Peat is often seen as the gardener’s best friend. Bags of peat fly off the DIY store and garden centre shelves every Spring. From tomato plants to seedlings, the plastic packs of peat make a perfect place to “grow your own”. However, peat extraction is having a dramatic impact on the places where it removed and packed ready for onward sale to the green fingered enthusiast. The peat bog is initially drained killing local wildlife and disrupting the water table. Once dried it is “mined” and packed in plastic bags. Without plastic bags the peat goes rotten. What is good for your garden is a disaster for parts of the UK, Ireland, Canada and Finland.
So what does the eco-friendly gardener do?
Well, fair trade pioneer Traidcraft has come up with an alternative – the Fair Trade Coir Compost Block. These blocks are made from coconut husk fibres, or coir, a sustainable by-product of the coconut industry in Sri Lanka. Coir used to be dumped in huge slag heaps around what is called the ‘coconut triangle’ region, north of Colombo. Now the coir is made into easy-to-use compost blocks that are not only eco-friendly but help provide employment opportunities for people in Sri Lanka too.
Each fair trade coir compost block sold by Traidcraft helps provide valuable income for the workers at manufacturer Ceylon Garden Coir. The fair trade premium from the coir compost goes to a local women’s weaving group, which receives training and support to weave with natural fibres, meaning that local families and communities benefit too.
Traidcraft’s Fair Trade Coir Compost Block is:
- An eco-friendly alternative to peat-based garden compost.
- Fantastic for water retention – good for potting and for improving soil.
- Economical – one block makes nine litres of fabulous garden compost.
- Perfect for wormeries.
- Light and compact – just place the block in a large bucket and add water.