On the promo picture of a newly launched fertiliser by the company Fast Grow Fertiliser, you will not see nice and healthy looking vegetables, as you might expect. Instead, it shows a beach littered with single-use plastics, intended to raise awareness of the problem of plastic pollution.
Owner of Fast Grow Fertiliser, Shane Walsh, created a zero waste fertiliser which is derived from cold-pressed seaweed and sold in bulk. This means that the product is not sold in single-use plastic containers.
Retailers selling the product can decide how they want to package the liquid fertiliser - if they want to add packaging at all.
"One centre uses the leftover milk bottles from their coffee shop to pour my product into and resell it" Shane explained to Candide.
Other retailers prefer customers to bring along their own containers to fill with the fertiliser.
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Adrian Sharp is a garden centre manager at The Orchard in Celbridge, and was one of Walsh’s first customers for the zero waste liquid seaweed. He told Hortweek:
"We have always stocked Shane's brilliant granular seaweed fertiliser and our customers really like how it performs in their gardens. Since we introduced the zero waste liquid seaweed we have seen our sales go through the roof. It seems our customers really like the idea of a zero-waste product."
Shane told Candide that the inspiration came while driving around and hearing endless reports on the radio of the dangers of single-use plastic.
"No one is doing anything about it. Customers can protest and refuse plastic packaging, but they can only do so much. This is a change that has to be producer-led, and I'm taking the first steps."
He believes producers need to get people into the mindset of reducing plastic waste and reusing containers in all aspects of their daily lives.
The product has been on the market for less than a year but Shane says they have already saved 12 tonnes of plastic from going to landfill.
Fast Grow Liquid Fertiliser can be purchased in select garden centres in Ireland. Shane would like to bring it to the UK, but as with any other products disrupting the market, retailers can be hesitant. You can find out more at www.fastgrowfertiliser.com