Trust announces plans for plastic free woodlands

Following our 24 October posting ‘Plastic tubes face redundancy following vote for Plastic Free Woodlands’, the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust has released details of their successful 18 month project, which they hope to start in December. They will also be running some volunteer tree planting and tube removal days as part of this project.

The Trust writes:  “Plastic guards are critical to enabling young trees to survive and thrive – acting as mini greenhouses and providing protection from browsing animals, weeds and herbicides until the tree is fully established. Following many decades of tree planting up and down the UK, there are now millions of plastic tree tubes littering the landscapes, most of which are made from single-use plastic. These disintegrate into smaller fragments and find their way into the soils and waterways.  With UK Government commitments to plant an extra 50 million trees a year, this problem will only get worse over time.

Manufacturers are responding to the demand for a sustainable solution and several new tree guards are under development.  None yet have proved to be financially viable, compostable on site, or effectively protect saplings for the required amount of time.

This project will:

  • remove redundant plastic tree guards over 8 hectares
  • engage communities and volunteers in tackling the problem,
  • support the planting of 7,000 trees, creating 5 new woodlands
  • trial alternatives to the plastic tree guard.

The project will support landowners to dispose of the redundant tubes appropriately by exploring options for recycling, reuse, or energy production and by coordinating central collections.

The product trials will act as a pilot and provide recommendations for a coordinated, national research project led by Forest Research working with other stakeholders.

The project will also disseminate guidance and seek a sustainable solution through sector-wide collaboration working with the Forestry Plastic Group.”