Reduction and replacement of peat in growing media (substrates)

The growing media industry and users of growing media will need to substitute (part of) their peat usage, as the extraction of peat results in both a loss of peatland’s natural value and CO2 emissions that contribute to global warming. With the global use of growing media on the rise, the substitution of peat will be a difficult and long process. Furthermore, it is difficult to replace peat because of its unique characteristics and the limited availability of some of its substitutes.

The possibilities for replacing peat in growing media without influencing crop productivity or quality will be different for each crop. In Europe, the share of peat in growing media has already declined from about 90% in 2000 to approximately 60% to 65% in 2023. However, the volume of peat for growing media has increased because growing media are used on a larger scale than they were previously (more crops, more surface area).