With Pro-Grow, the United Kingdom has a natural peat-free fertilizer

Published in the dossier of December 2019

As Veolia treats over 400,000 metric tons of green household waste (grass, leaves, etc.) in the United Kingdom each year, the Group has designed and produces a peat-free* compost that meets industry’s highest quality standards: Pro-GrowTM. This solution has been encouraged by the British government, which is concerned about the depletion of peatlands (wetlands with a remarkable biodiversity), as 3 million m3 of peat is extracted annually for horticulture.
The process to produce Pro-GrowTM compost requires several steps. First of all, green waste is transported to one of Veolia’s ten composting centers to be shredded before being mixed with green and woody materials. The shredded material obtained is then formed into 100-meter-long windrows2. The temperature gradually rises until pathogens and weed seeds are destroyed. Once it has reached at least 70°C for 48 hours, the windrows are aerated and turned for four months.
Made up of 80% organic matter (which improves the soil) and 20% nutrients, Pro-GrowTM is suitable for all plants and is particularly appreciated in horticulture. While 150,000 bags of compost currently leave Veolia’s ten centers each year, the government’s strategic plan for resources and waste could accelerate this activity.

* Peat, fossil plant matter from wetlands — peatlands — is an organic amendment that has the ability to enrich soil. It is the result of the decomposition of semi-aquatic plants over several thousand years; it takes 100 years to produce 5 cm. Its extraction is endangering biodiversity-rich ecosystems, which have become fragile all across Europe.
2. A row of plant residues spread over a plot of land