Our sustainability

We try to do what we can for the environment with our range of sustainability policies.

Being in the horticulture industry it is important to us that we do as much as we can to help protect the environment and be sustainable, which is why we have a number of policies in place throughout all our stores. Please see below for more information.

Recycling at Whitehall

Whitehall Garden Centres offer a range of products and services to allow our customers to recycle their horticultural waste.

Customer Recycling Facilities

Whitehall offers the following recycling facilities for its customers:
1. New Taupe coloured pots for home recycling (please see below)
2. Battery recycling bins which are available by the exit doors.
3. Whitehall sells compost bins for home recycling of food and garden waste.
4. Whitehall encourages the use of cardboard boxes to carry goods to the car which can then be recycled at home.
5. Carrier bags are charged at 5 pence each with proceeds donated to Greenfingers Charity (Click to view website – external link)

Company Recycling Policy

Whitehall carry out the following recycling operations in conjunction with Wiltshire Waste & Hills Waste Management:

  1. All of our plant waste is sent to be recycled into compost.
  2. Hard plastic is segregated and recycled as extruded plastic.
  3. Cardboard and paper waste is collected in separate skips to be recycled.
  4. All our food waste is sent to an anaerobic digester at Avonmouth to be converted into electricity.
  5. All bottles and tins are recycled separately.
  6. Metal and wood are collected and sent for reprocessing.
  7. In conclusion, Whitehall are currently recycling 80% of the waste produced at all of our centres.



  1. We have installed two Biomass boilers at Lacock using wood pellets to generate our heating & hot water which reduces the use of fossil fuels. It is estimated that this saves up to 110 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.
  2. We’ve reduced our energy consumption up to 45% by using a combination of low voltage and LED lights following a replacement of all fittings in 2015 at our Lacock Store.

Peat Free Alternatives

We now stock Peat-Free, Peat-Reduced & Organic Peat-Free Multipurpose composts in all of our centres. 


Catering Food Takeaway Disposables

We use Vegeware biodegradable, compostable food containers, cups and cutlery in our restaurants. This allows food containers to be recycled alongside food waste and sent off for processing into compost.


Home Delivery

  1. Online orders are sent out in recyclable or compostable packaging materialsCardboard boxes are made from recycled materials and can be reused or recycled
  2. Packing beads are made from biodegradable materials and can be put in general waste
  3. Packaging Bags can be put in the regular rubbish and will decompose within 2 years. We even include an extra glue layer so that if you need to send something back you can reuse the same bag

New Kerbside Recyclable Pots

Whitehall Garden Centre is constantly exploring sustainable alternatives to single use plastic within our business. Our latest step in this endeavour is the phasing in of the new ‘taupe kerbside recyclable plant pot’ across Whitehall Garden Centres, replacing the old black plastic pot.

Working alongside our own growers on this joint industry initiative, this new taupe-coloured recyclable pot, developed by Aeroplas, is a step towards combatting plastics in horticulture.

The Pot Developers

Aeroplas UK Ltd are manufacturers in shrub containers, thermo pots, transport trays, bedding plant pack packs, coat hangers, glasses, tumblers, trays and plates, and have been manufacturing in the industry for over 20 years. They have worked with numerous raw material suppliers to provide a range of colours which are carbon free, which means they can be collected as part of home recycling schemes.

Their eco pots are manufactured from recycled materials, which can be reliably identified in waste sorting sites, the material extracted during the recycling process can be reused to manufacture other plastic goods.

Recyclable Pot Credentials

Aeroplas UK Ltd is a long-standing member of RECOUP, the plastics recycling charity, and the UK’s leading authority on plastics waste and resource management, providing expertise and guidance.

The recyclable pots, which our growers will be phasing in from 2019, were tested by RECOUP on high-tech NIR detection systems in December 2017.The samples tested were of eight different colours and all samples were 100% correctly identified as Polypropylene, perfect for kerbside recycling.

Advantages of recyclable plant pots:

  1. The raw material cycle is a closed loop which means it can be re-used to manufacture other goods.
  2. Recycling conserves energy and natural resources.
  3. Recycling cuts down on the amount of waste in landfill sites.
  4. Reduction in pollution.
  5. Can be recycled in your household recycling


Horticulture Industry Facts

Why Gardening is good!

  1. There are 27 million gardeners in the UK, making it the country’s biggest hobby
  2. Gardening provides huge benefits for the environment and for health and wellbeing.
  3. Being in the business of growing the very plants and trees which constitute one of the best ways of mitigating climate change we want to reduce carbon emissions in our own operations and wider society.
  4. Plants absorb CO2. One Oak tree will give off enough O2 for two people to live off for one year and absorb around 18kg.
  5. The ornamental horticulture sector, of which garden centres are a key part, play an active and long running role in their local communities.


  1. Although nearly 76% of Local Authorities currently collect pots, tubs and trays as part of their recycling schemes, few collect black plant pots.
  2. Black plant pots contain black carbon pigment which absorbs infra-red from detection systems, hindering recycling.
  3. The new taupe coloured pot is carbon black-free, recycled polypropylene that can be identified by near infrared (NIR) and consequently recycled through kerbside recycling schemes. This allows the consumer to dispose of their pots to be recycled in a way that has not been possible before now.
  4. In just one year the HTA worked with their members to move from having non-kerbside recyclable pots to fully recyclable kerbside plastic pots
  5. This will mean valuable materials don’t have to go to landfill and can be turned back into pots. This amounts to 8,000 tonnes of plastic a year.
  6. However, very few local authorities are currently collecting plastic plant pots. We want local authorities to change their guidance on collection of plant pits. We urge our customers to support us in ensuring a sustainable system for plastic.


  1. The industry has made significant progress in developing peat-free and peat-reduced alternative products for plants to grow and thrive.
  2. Over £100 million has been invested into developing, peat-free and peat-reduced products, which include materials such as composted bark, coconut fibre (coir), wood fibre and green waste.
  3. The industry has been working with Defragging and wildlife organisations to establish the responsible sourcing scheme for growing media. This will give consumers more information about the environmental impacts of all the materials.
  4. The industry is committed to becoming Peat-free for consumer bagged compost. We are not there yet but are working with Government to deliver this pledge.

Plant Health

  1. The Plant Health Assurance Scheme will be launched soon to ensure businesses are certified as ‘Plant Healthy’ – ensuring consistent plant health management.
  2. With new plant health legislation coming in December 2019, all plants will have a plant passport allowing for full traceability.




Reviewing Our Policy

Whitehall conforms to the “Waste Packaging Regulations” in which we carry out an exercise to determine the amount or materials that must be recycled annually.


Mental and Physical Wellbeing

  • As an employer, we seek to create and maintain a working environment that promotes the health and wellbeing of all its employees.
  • We provide all of our employees with health and safety training to protect their mental and physical well-being.
  • We have family and flexible working policies in place.
  • We have many employee benefits including staff discount, free parking, accrued annual leave and workplace pension.


Our Products and Suppliers

  • We aim to use responsibly sourced products in all our stores.
  • Our Farm Shop is stocked with a range of local products, including vegetables, milk, bread, alcohol and our own produce, including meat from our farm livestock and wine from our vineyard.
  • We stock Peat-Free, Peat-Reduced & Organic Peat-Free Multipurpose composts in all of our centres.
  • Our Gifts Department stocks from a range of responsible suppliers including Inis, the core funder of the Irish Whales and Dolphin Group.
  • Our Toy Store stocks from responsible manufacturers and producers including Bigjigs Toys, which are FSC Certified and have a range of Green Toys made from recycled materials.