1. Recycle/Reuse plastic containers: Typically, plastic does not lose its strength so reuse pots and trays when possible. Simply wash and sanitize in a solution that is not chlorine based. Provide recycling for plastic containers to your customers and encourage them by offering discounts on purchases.
2. Sell compostable pots. There is a growing number of suppliers and you may be able to gain a premium if you market them correctly.
3. Use organic, certified pest control products when possible. They are becoming more effective and don’t impact your environment, employees or customers.
4. Recycle or capture irrigation water whenever possible. Create a pond on-site to use as supplemental irrigation water while adding an appealing design element to your garden center.
5. Offer your customers alternatives to synthetic fertilizers. This is a large factor in being sustainable. Look for nutrition products that are derived from plant material like seed oil extracts.
6. Offer a wide variety of vegetable plants and herbs, so that your customers can grow their own food.
7. Let your customers see your compost pile and teach them how to make their own. Sell them the additives to make their own potting soil such as biological inoculants and slow release oxygen granules.
8. Provide your customers with information brochures as to how to grow with sustainable products. Ask your vendors to provide educational materials.
9. Reduce and remove as much plastic packaging as possible. Offer paper, reusable bags or containers to bring purchases home.
10. Have fun with your customers. It’s all about the experience. Embrace it and grow sustainability like we grow our plants.