Welcome to an even greener Open Garden Squares Weekend: reducing our environmental footprint for 2019

Collingham Gardens
Collingham Gardens © Diana Jarvis

With over 130 gardens and green spaces due to open across London on 8-9 June 2019, we are proud to announce a renewed commitment to reducing our environmental impact and creating a greener and more sustainable Open Garden Squares Weekend.

The London Parks and Gardens Trust aims to cultivate, celebrate and champion London’s green spaces, and one of the most important ways in which we can achieve these three goals is by ensuring that we tread carefully through our natural environment, and leave it richer than when we came.

Read on to find out more about some of the ecological initiatives we have in place for 2019’s Open Garden Squares Weekend. Don’t forget – limited numbers of tickets are still available at Christmas sale prices until 26 December, and you can buy yours online now.

Sustainable printing 

Alara Permaculture Forest Garden © Anna Barclay 11
Alara Permaculture Forest Garden © Anna Barclay

For the first time, our Open Garden Squares Weekend Guidebook will be printed on 100% recycled paper, using vegetable-based inks and a water-based protective coating. 

We are also proud to announce that we will no longer be using PVC banners. PVC is one of the most toxic plastics during its manufacture and use, and cannot be recycled – nor is it biodegradable in landfill.

Instead, in 2019 our banners will be printed on 100% recyclable high-density polyethylene, or HDPE (the material used to make plastic milk bottles). HDPE is environmentally stable and gives off no harmful fumes, and recycling it is particularly valuable as it can be cheaper to make a product from recycled HDPE than to manufacture virgin plastic. HDPE can be recycled kerbside or by return to our banner print contractors.

Both our print contractors – Belmont Press for the guidebook and Greenhouse Graphics (GHG) for the banners – are located in south-east England, reducing the carbon footprint of our printing in terms of delivery miles. Both take their environmental credentials very seriously, recycling all waste products and using photovoltaic solar panels to produce renewable energy, amongst a host of other initiatives.

Ruth Holmes, Chair of the London Parks and Gardens Trust, commented: “The London Parks and Gardens Trust is all about the amazing and diverse green spaces in the capital, helping cultivate a love for them and championing how great they are for our health and wellbeing. Now we can celebrate parks, gardens and community spaces at Open Garden Squares Weekend with a reduced environmental impact, through our more sustainable guidebooks and materials.”

Event management 

Eversheds Sutherland Vegetable Garden © Diana Jarvis 5476
Eversheds Sutherland Vegetable Garden © Diana Jarvis

An event on the scale of Open Garden Squares Weekend can create a mountain of waste –  not only paper, which can be recycled, but also single use plastics in the form of food and drink containers. These containers are often difficult or impossible to recycle, and so end up in landfill.

This year we are encouraging all gardens and refreshment providers to use biodegradable or recyclable cups, plates and cutlery. Using compostable tableware in conjunction with gardens’ own composting facilities will significantly reduce the waste generated by refreshments facilities, but we are also encouraging gardens to install recycle bins for the duration of the event.

Transportation 

Although the vast majority of visitors use public transport to move between events over the weekend, we are also keen to encourage visitors to walk wherever possible, and to this end we are creating some short walking routes around groups of gardens so that the only transportation required is your own two feet. Watch out for these walks in your guidebook.

Museum of the Order of St John  © Anna Barclay 24.jpg
Museum of the Order of St John © Anna Barclay

Director of the London Parks and Gardens Trust Helen Monger said: “We want to cultivate appreciation of parks, squares, community gardens, cemeteries and churchyards as part of London’s rich green infrastructure. We believe these spaces play a vital part in the wellbeing of Londoners. This year we have taken a look at ourselves and at how we can do better to reduce our impact when celebrating these amazing spaces through Open Garden Squares Weekend.  I am delighted that we will be delivering an ecologically improved event.”

We are very much looking forward to welcoming you to Open Garden Squares Weekend 2019, and we hope that these steps towards a greener and more sustainable event will help you enjoy the weekend all the more.