This recent post lauded Garden Center Magazine’s focus on sustainability in the new year and complained that since the mag isn’t on line, we’d miss it. Well, not to worry! The first article, "We Really Can Recycle Horticultural Plastics" featuring three successful pot recycling programs, IS available in pdf via that link. And in other news of the same excellent project, they also launched the Project Green Industry blog. It’s the one place that growers and retailers can find all the magazine’s sustainability articles, but in even more depth than in print, including interview notes, trends and news. Just add reader comments and you’ve got a forum going on these important subjects. It’s a great example of a magazine using the Internet to enhance the printed product.
When editor Carol Miller wrote to tell me about their new blog I naturally asked for an interview so I could pick her brain about all this. Seems that the sustainability situation is "chaotic" right now in the U.S. industry, especially around the writing of standards for growers. Should they have to give their employees paid maternity leave in order to get the highest rating? And if GMO plants are to be banned, how should that be defined? To include all hybrids? And who should be writing the standards, anyhow? Here’s Carol’s article about the controversy on Open Register, with insider details about Veriflora and EcoOptions from her very confidential source.
More news from Carol:
- Many Canadian municipalities have banned the use of pesticides on ornamental plants, unless the homeowner can prove there’s an infestation. So why are they ahead of us? The suppliers there aren’t as powerful as they are here in the U.S. (Will we EVER figure out how to take money out of politics? Sigh.)
- Europeans follow the MPS standards for sustainability, which are proving to be quite effective, with the giant Ikea buying plants only from growers with the highest MPS rating. Input from the grower community helped make these standards so good.
- When Carol mentioned cracking down on pot volume I did a mental double-take, thinking the new hort rules were somehow connected to the War on Drugs. But no, the crackdown is on compliance with ANSI standards for container size, so we won’t be hearing about it on the talk shows after all. And an even bigger pot issue is about how to recycle them, with ELLE plugs [pdf] made of paper and lycra showing promise.
- I was awfully impressed with a garden center near me that’s almost 100 percent organic and asked if she’s seeing much movement toward that nationally. On the West Coast, yes, where we’d expect it, but they recently did a Green Trends survey of 209 garden centers and 55 percent said they were "passionate" about going organic. And SOME of them must be right-coasters, maybe even no-coasters!