Morrisons has announced that it will make a big change to a garden product as it takes moves towards being more sustainable.

The supermarket will phase out peat-based compost at its 497 stores and 303 garden centres across the UK.

The Government has called on UK retailers to ban the sale of compost containing peat by 2024, to help tackle global warming.

In place of peat, Morrisons will be introducing a variety of sustainable composts for its customers. These will include coir compost which is made from waste hucks and fibres of coconuts.

Peatlands currently occupy around 12 per cent of the UK’s land area. When healthy they can store large volumes of carbon, with research showing they can hold up to 30 times more carbon per hectare than a healthy tropical rainforest.

Chester and District Standard: Peat free soil (Morrisons)Peat free soil (Morrisons)

They can also help to prevent floods and contribute towards biodiversity.

However, 80 per cent of British peatlands have been lost or damaged due to being drained for agriculture, forestry and construction as well as being reduced in size by peat extraction for horticulture.

As a result, these carbon sinks have released greenhouse gases accounting for five per cent of the UK’s total emissions.

The Wildlife Trust has reported that the peat extracted for UK horticulture in 2020 alone could release up to 880,000 tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime. One of the ways in which peatlands can be restored is by ‘re-wetting’ or reinstating the natural flow of water and soil saturation.

Morrisons will be the first supermarket to sell Coco Grow coir compost products as they enter stores this month.

They consist of one kilo and five-kilo bricks that can be turned into 15 and 75 litres of compost just by adding warm water.

In addition to Coco Grow, Morrisons will also sell peat-free Westland, Richmoor and Miracle-Gro composts in 30 to 50 litre bags, priced between £3.50 to £6.00.

Dan Townend, Gardening Buyer at Morrisons, said: “More people are gardening and our research shows that customers also want to protect our natural habitats. Peatland is actually the country’s biggest natural carbon store and its removal is affecting the environment. Our new coir range is just as good as traditional composts - and means we’re using the natural waste materials from coconut growing to fertilise our gardens instead.”

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “I applaud this commitment as a hugely positive step towards a peat-free future for the UK’s gardening trade, ahead of our proposed ban on peat in the retail sector by the end of this Parliament. This bold move will help gardeners across the UK to make the sustainable choice and go peat-free - to protect our peatlands, cut carbon emissions, and safeguard our environment for generations to come.”