Most people agree that planting trees is a good thing for the environment: trees help store carbon dioxide, contribute to habitat restoration, and offer a natural solution reduce the risk of flooding.
Plastic tree guards are commonly used to help protect and nurture saplings, however, if the shelters are not removed once they have served their purpose they can breakdown into harmful microplastic particles. Given the vast numbers of trees being planted, their use can actually become significant source of plastic pollution in the environment.
Project partner Queen Mary University of London has been working in partnership with the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group in South West England (FWAG SW) to research solutions for plastic tree guards at the end of their useful life. They have launched a pilot scheme in Dorset that will enable anyone involved with planting trees to have the opportunity to bring their used tree guards for recycling. The trial has capacity to collect and recycle up to 40,000 plastic tree guards.
Find out more about the Dorset Tree Guard recycling scheme pilot
In addition to the pilot recycling scheme, the team at Queen Mary have engaged with national stakeholders including conservation organisations and land owners that are interested in delivering end-of -life solutions for tree guards.
To establish the level of demand for these solutions, a short survey has been developed that will inform future end-of life initiatives, share your thoughts here.