Box & Sprout, a start-up aiming to disrupt the gardening industry, announced today their new product that aims to help novice millennial gardeners – 3 million of whom sprung up during lockdown – to grow their food as sustainably as possible, no matter their space.
Box & Sprout launched a pilot subscription in January, delivering a selection of in-season plants that customers could grow at home each month. Knowing what to grow and when isn’t easy for novice gardeners, and so the subscription was there to help make it much easier to pick what plants to grow.
But when building their subscription boxes, another problem emerged. It was really hard to find ways to grow sustainably, which Box & Sprout considered a key requirement for their millennial customers and also the right thing to do. The major problems they noticed were:
- That growing in single-used plastic pots is by far the cheapest and most common way of growing container plants (500 million plastic pots are sold in the UK every year, with 95% ending up in landfill):
- That growing in “peat” compost is still the most common soil used. Peat is a material which takes thousands of years to grow and is a huge carbon sink. (3 million cubic metres of peat is sold in the UK every year)
- Because of the weight and size of the products, that many customers still have to travel to garden centres by car, an inefficient use of fuel in comparison to delivery
Box & Sprout are looking to change this. They’ve launched a subscription service that helps gardeners, no matter their skill level, grow more sustainably. Their soil mixes are peat-free, their pots are compostable and biodegradable, they use recycled plastic bottles in their fabric pots and all their other materials are either recycled or recyclable.
They aren’t 100% plastic-free just yet, because they haven’t found a way to keep organic matter like soil in a material that is compostable or biodegradable, without causing it to quickly degrade. But they are working with their suppliers to actively become plastic-free as quickly as they can.
Founders Charlie & Rob say, “as millennials ourselves, we feel that the climate is an important thing for businesses to take seriously. And when we took to growing stuff over lockdown, and then again when we were looking to create a business in the horticultural industry, focussing on customers who are like us, we realised that there’s a real challenge with growing sustainability. We want to make it easy for people to learn to grow sustainably, so that we can reduce our impact on the planet, rather than increasing it.”
With a vision to become the world’s most sustainable grow your own food company, Box & Sprout acknowledge that they may not be there just yet, but they’re working hard to realise their vision.