SGD 'Say No to Plastic Grass & Plants' campaign: One year on

Company: Society of Garden Designers (SGD)
  • Garden by Marian Boswall FSGD
  • Garden by Andrew Duff MSGD

One year on from the launch of its 'Say No to Plastic Grass & Plants' campaign, The Society of Garden Designers (SGD) has revealed the progress that has been made in raising awareness of the devastating effects artificial greenery has on the environment and the impact the campaign has had on attitudes towards it. 

As it reached the first anniversary of the campaign launch, a survey conducted amongst SGD members has shown that 90% of them would no longer specify plastic grass in their designs if they were asked to, and 43% said that they had received fewer requests for it from clients.  Nearly 20% also said they had been asked by clients to remove plastic grass from gardens since the start of the campaign.  

Extending beyond artificial landscaping, the survey also revealed that 80% of members said that their clients were now more aware of environmental and sustainability issues in general.  

Supported by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and the Landscape Institute (LI), the campaign was launched in March 2023 with the aim of raising awareness of the extreme environmental damage caused by artificial grass and plants and to encourage the landscape industry and the public to seek environmentally friendly alternatives. 

Chair of the SGD Andrew Duff MSGD said: "We're absolutely thrilled with the positive response to the campaign, especially hearing that almost all our members have pledged to stop using plastic grass in their designs.  

"The campaign put the core issues front and centre of public debate and has sparked a national conversation about the extreme environmental devastation these products cause.  As a result, people are increasingly recognising the importance of natural gardens for biodiversity, healthy soil, and combating climate change and whilst the fight for a greener future continues, the "Say No to Plastic Grass and Plants" campaign has sown the seeds for positive change." 

With widespread support from the industry and extensive media coverage, the campaign's resources and tools were widely disseminated, with nearly 60% of SGD members supporting it by displaying the campaign banner (below) on their own social media channels and websites.  

As part of the campaign, the SGD also produced a downloadable leaflet outlining the facts about plastic grass and plants and debunking the claims that these products are eco-friendly. The leaflet, which is still available to download from the SGD website, provides information and advice on using sustainable alternatives. 

The launch of the ‘Say No to Plastic Grass & Plants’ Campaign followed the SGD’s decision to ban advertising and sponsorship income from artificial grass and foliage suppliers in spring 2019 and the commitments the Society made in its Manifesto for Sustainable Landscape and Garden Design launched at the SGD Sustainability Symposium in 2022. 
The RHS banned the sale of plastic grass at its shows in 2018 and as of 2022 artificial grass and plants were banned entirely from its shows, including those used for floor covering and stand dressings.

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