Family-run garden centre and farm shop, Garsons of Titchfield has raised £2,138 for marine conservation along the south-east coastline, simply by asking for 5p for plastic carrier bags.
The sum has been collected over a 12-month period from the sale of bags at both Garsons of Titchfield and its sister site in Esher, Surrey and will be donated to the Marine Conservation Society.
Although not legally required to do so, Garsons began the voluntary donation scheme for single-use plastic bags in October 2015 and since then has raised a total of £6,722 for the marine conservation charity.
“We are so grateful for the donations that Garsons have sent us which will help our volunteering projects to clear litter from beaches, protect our precious marine wildlife and advise on sustainable seafood through our Good Fish Guide,” said Katherine Stephenson, head of fundraising for the Marine Conservation Society. “It's really heartening to see companies like Garsons actively seeking alternatives to reduce their use of single-use plastics.”
Garsons is also currently trialling a new carrier bag made from a bio-degradable material which customers can reuse in their kitchen compost bins when they get home.
Garsons has also recently introduced a `Bag for Life’ made from a new ecological fabric called Juco - a durable blend of jute and cotton – to encourage customers to avoid the use of plastic bags altogether. And from this month, customers shopping from the Owton’s butcher counter can choose to have their meat and deli products packaged in 100% compostable trays and overwrapped with paper instead of clingfilm.
These environmental steps are the latest in a number of initiatives by Garsons to reduce or eliminate plastic from its business. Last October, it replaced plastic cups with glasses for drinking water in its restaurant and swapped plastic straws for paper ones. It also been working closely with suppliers to provide plants in coloured, rather than black, plastic pots. Coloured pots are recyclable and can be put into household recyclable waste bins by customers for their own doorstep collections.
“As a family of growers, we understand how important it is to protect our environment and are committed to reducing and eventually removing, wherever possible, all plastic-based packaging from our business,” said Garsons director Ben Thompson. “And while doing so, we are proud to continue to support the amazing work the Marine Conservation Society does to protect our sea life and coastlines by charging for single use plastic bags. We have seen a notable drop in the use of bags which means our wonderful customers are equally prepared to help us in our quest to protect the environment.”