By Anita Campbell – CEO Nursery & Garden Industry NSW & ACT (NGINA)
I recently had the great pleasure of attending the Gardening Responsibly Launch at the Department of Planning.
The Gardening Responsibly initiative & Plant Sure Scheme was commissioned by the NSW Environmental Trust in 2015. A consortium led by NGINA created an industry-led Scheme that allows producers and consumers to make better plant choices for gardens and the environment.
The scheme has the objective of reducing the volume of newly emerging environmental weeds that may ‘jump the garden fence’ and escape into bushland from home gardens or commercial and public green spaces.
This is very important as weeds cause major impacts to the NSW industry, the environment and the community. The 2015 Natural Resources Commission review of weed management in NSW reported the annual economic cost of weeds to NSW to be $1.8 billion, not including the significant impacts to environmental and social amenity which have not been monetarily quantified.
The Gardening Responsibly research platform provides knowledge and tools that are available to anyone, to understand invasive risk and assess plants for their level of invasiveness to prevent future weeds.
The eco-label, based on scientific evidence of invasiveness, creates new knowledge and a clear visual identity to empower both producers and consumers to easily select products that are better for the environment, specifically choosing garden plants with a low risk of becoming invasive weeds.