Seven million unsold plants ‘could be binned’ because of Coronavirus

Bruce Harnett. Managing Director of Kernock Park Plants spoke to ELN about the waste that will result from the impacts of the pandemic

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Millions of plants ‘could be binned’ in the coming weeks as the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc upon the plant and gardening industry.

That’s the suggestion of Bruce Harnett, Managing Director of Kernock Park Plants based in Cornwall, who has been trading plants for nearly 40 years – he said UK producers face financial ruin as the lockdown coincides with what would normally be their peak season – the firm usually produces up to 12 million plants per year.

He states that with approximately seven million unsold plants currently in his premises, his key priority is to try to hold them or to give them away to other organisations – however, he adds the scale of supply and the current self-imposed isolation of tmost of the country ‘will inevitably lead us to throw them’.

He said despite having to throw the plants out, there will be no environmental impact and nothing will be sent to landfill – instead, he will compost the plants but notes they cannot reuse them on their production because there is a risk of diseases.

He told ELN: “Just the cancellations that we had during the last two weeks cost us £500,000. With information coming in all the time, we expect that this figure will double in the coming week.”

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