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End of peat based composts: What will replace it?

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Beersmith:
It is now official.  Peat based composts will be banned from 2024.

Overall I support this decision.  There are many very good reasons why we should not damage the environment by destroying peat bogs.  Still, part of me will miss not being able to use decent seed compost because as almost everyone that reads this website will know, the alternatives are appallingly bad. 

Oddly enough, the outright ban makes me slightly optimistic.  Most markets are broad enough to support the basic cheap and cheerful, the middle ground and the expensive but high quality premium product. I would happily pay a premium price for a high quality non peat based compost, and cheap alternatives are not really in the same market. If I cannot get the quality I'm not going to buy more bags of rubble and twigs just because it is cheap.

When there is a customer demand that is not being met, there is usually a producer that sees that as an opportunity to produce what is needed and make money.  But there was less incentive to develop a good product while peat was still permitted.  So vaguely hopeful.  What do others think?

ACE:
I wrote to My MP a few years ago, complaining about the department that is supposed to oversee the waste industry which includes the quality control on 'composts and gardening waste. Just got a stock answer that it was well governed.  So I would not put a lot of faith in getting something remotely viable from an industry run by didycoys with a good helping of brown enevelopes.

gray1720:
What happened to coir-based compost? Is it just not named as such now? Or did the raw material suddenly become expensive?

Tee Gee:
My thoughts are:

In days of yore once the suppliers had mastered the treatment of the raw peat to make it fit for gardening purposes it was then a relatively simple, and dare I say it, a cheap way to churn out what we all saw & knew was good quality compost.

Nowadays, it is probably not as simple a task to turn/recycle the variety of products that are now used to make what is often laughingly called  "compost" into a consistent product, hence the variations in quality we get!

Plus, I expect today's production costs could be much higher due to lack of infrastructure to turn/recycle the variety of products into a consistent product. This is obviously going to affect profits  so producers are only producing a quality that befits the price!

As Beersmith says:

I would happily pay a premium price for a high quality non peat based compost, and cheap alternatives are not really in the same market. If I cannot get the quality I'm not going to buy more bags of rubble and twigs just because it is cheap.

I agree!

But how would you define 'Premium Price' I have been used to paying around 5p-7p per litre for the last few years. Only yesterday I paid 10.71p per litre for a variety I like.

But does everyone want to pay 50% more for the rubbish that is commonly used these days.

Personally until a 'Quality Standard' is put in place I  think producers will be reluctant to invest in new infrastructure until they know what these 'Standards' will be and to be honest I would agree to them.

So I guess we will have to get used to using what is currently available! :BangHead:

ACE:
The testing of the compost properly must be missing. It all comes from licenced  local authority tips. You would think that is the ideal solution and it would be if people used the garden waste collections properly. Everything goes into the shredder then stored in heaps until it composts. Lawn clippings , xmas trees, hedge clipping etc. all loaded with modern lawn treatments, weedkillers, retardants and chemicals to stop the xmas tree from shedding needles. Because of the space needed it is made into 'compost' very quickly so as to move it on and make space for the next batch, the chemicals are still in the mix. It is  just like bark chippings and would make a good mulch but it takes its share of goodness out of the ground before it puts it back again.  I would suggest you use it to make a John Innes type compost every year about now for use next spring. I can get soil improver from the tip 12 a ton if collected, great for a winter mulch but no good to use as compost. The same stuff is also sold as compost from the same heap.

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