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Chessington & The Environment

Working with the environment has always been a vital and passionate role at Chessington Garden Centre.

By continuing to invest more than would normally be expected for a business of our size and nature into environmental elements, we aim to create a pleasant, award-winning site that will blend into the local surroundings and set new standards of sustainability.

For Chessington Garden Centre this was not, and is not, just a PR exercise, nor a 'one-off' effort. It has been and will remain a sustained investment in time, money, enthusiasm and dedication for the lifetime of the company.

As part of this commitment, a formal environmental program was started in 2000. Following further investment, and lots of hard work by the whole team, in 2004 Chessington Garden Centre became the first garden centre in the country to gain international recognition for environmental management by meeting the ISO14001 requirements.

Further recognition of our efforts has included;

  • Winners of the Surrey Sustainable Business of the year 2005.
  • Finalist of the South East Sustainable Business awards 2006.
  • Tudor Rose & Gold Medal in Hampton Court with a global warming theme.
  • Kingston Guardian Green Business of the year 2006.

More recently, in July 2011 we were awarded Gold for “The Greatest Garden Centre Green Team” for 2011.

Environmental Policy

Chessington Garden Centres environmental policy and management system is focused on the following six areas, all with the aim of reducing our operational impact;

  • Energy & Water
  • Waste & Recycling
  • Sustainable Procurement
  • Education & Training
  • Site Development
  • Measuring our impacts

For more information on our environmental policy, and our objectives & targets please click on the links below.

Energy & Water


The main focus of our energy saving project, has been to improve the efficiency of the site.

In order to achieve this goal, substantial investment was undertaken in the procurement of both sophisticated voltage conditioning equipment and Heatmiser boiler control equipment. These were fitted to the main electrical intake cable and the gas boilers.

By placing the voltage conditioning unit between the incoming feed and the onsite electrical equipment, we have been able to reduce the voltage supply from 240V to 200V. This action, which has no effect on modern appliances, has enabled us to achieve up to a 10% per annum energy saving.

The introduction of the Heatmiser boiler control equipment, with its sophisticated monitoring of incoming and outgoing temperatures in the heating pipes, allows for the automatic adjustment of settings, for maximum boiler efficiency. A further benefit of this equipment is how it controls the sequencing of the boilers.  It not only ensures the minimum number of boilers are used for the required temperature but also alternates the boilers to ensure equal use between all 4 site boilers.

As this substantial financial investment shows, Chessington Garden Centre was extremely committed to reduce the impact it has on the environment from the very beginning of this project.


At the beginning of our water saving project we decided it was important to move away from wasteful automatic watering systems for the outdoor plants, and move to hand watering with hoses fitted with trigger controlled spray heads or watering cans.

Over the subsequent years, this move has given us not only significant water savings, but also less plant wastage. With more regular and closer inspection of the plants, we are able to ensure that watering is only carried out when and where it is needed, that the plants are in first class condition, and displays and stocks are better controlled, cutting down on plant waste.

Another major and innovative part of both our environmental improvement program, and our desire to reduce our on-site water usage and wastage, was the commissioning of Chessington Garden Centre’s own Reed Bed system.

This project has seen the development of 1000m2 of reed beds for the purification of all surface water. Designed to work over four treatment stages of cleansing, to mimic the natural process of water filtration that occurs in wetland eco systems, they provide stream quality water, and have become a fully established and a thriving aquatic habitat.

In the future it is hoped that the water from the reed beds will be pumped into storage for use as irrigation across the site.

Waste & Recycling

An early facet during the development of the environmental management system here at Chessington Garden Centre was the introduction of recycling.

As this important practice developed across the site, recycling levels increased from 33% at the beginning of the program to a peak of 81% of all waste produced, thus dramatically reducing waste sent to landfill.

As a business we currently recycle all our:

  • Paper
  • Plastic wrapping
  • Plastic Bottles
  • Cardboard
  • Timber
  • Metal
  • Waste electric and Electronic equipment (W.E.E.E)
  • Fluorescent tubes
  • Batteries
  • Glass
  • Cooking oil
  • Printer cartridges
  • Organic plant waste and Christmas trees
  • Christmas cards

In addition, we also currently offer public recycling facilities for:

  • Christmas trees

The Distributor Take Back Scheme

Recycling your old electricals here!

If you're buying a new electrical item, we will recycle your old one for free

Why Recycle?

Unwanted electrical equipment is the UK's fastest-growing type of waste.

Many electrical items can be repaired or recycled, saving natural resources and the environment. If you do not recycle electrical equipment, it will end up in landfill where hazardous substances will leak out and cause soil and water contamination - harming wildlife and also human health.

We're proud to support your local authority in providing local recycling facilities for electrical equipment.

To remind you that old electrical equipment can be recycled, it is now marked with the crossed-out wheeled bin symbol. Please do not throw any electrical equipment (including those marked with this symbol) in your bin.

We can help

We are pleased to offer our customers the chance to recycle their old electrical items when purchasing a new item from s. Please speak to a member of staff for details on how to dispose of your Waste Electrical or Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

Crossed out wheeled-bin symbol

To remind you that old electrical equipment can be recycled, it is now marked with a crossed-out wheeled bin symbol. Please do not throw any electrical equipment (including those marked with the crossed-out wheel bin symbol) in your bin.

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2013

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive requires EU member states to maximise separate collection and environmentally friendly processing of WEEE. In the UK, distributors (including retailers) are required to provide a system which allows all customers buying new electrical equipment the opportunity to recycle their old items free of charge. As a responsible retailer, we have met these requirements by offering all customers buying new electrical and electronic equipment free take-back of their old electricals on a like for like basis.

Sustainable Procurement

“Through the work we have already done when you make a purchase at Chessington Garden Centre you’re already being helped to be more environmental and sustainable”.

Here at Chessington Garden Centre we are not only looking to make our on-site activities more sustainable, but constantly looking for ways to help you decrease your own environmental impact.

From the drive to source as much local produce as possible, to ensuring that all products are from sustainable sources, our buyers always take into consideration the environmental impact before undertaking any purchase. As part of this sourcing process, our buyers also take into account “CITES” (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora), to ensure that we comply with trading requirements for any specimens under international threat of survival.  This also has to be applied to all animals sold in our Pet & Wildlife Centre, including all tortoises.

The same environmental goals have also resulted in a move to 100% of our wooden garden furniture, fencing, arches and timber landscaping products coming from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified forests, which are harvested ensuring the biodiversity, productivity and ecological processes of the forest are maintained.

We also take the same care and stance when it comes to the sourcing of our hard landscaping materials such as “Indian Sandstone”. In selecting Stonemarket as our major supplier we were able to obtain a first class product range, but also form a partnership with a company who pride themselves on their ethical stance and practices through membership of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI).

We have also seen a dramatic rise in the number of organic and environmentally friendly garden chemicals and products we stock. To assist we have created our very own “Eco Label” to highlight products for our environmentally conscious customers.

Education & Training

Working with the local community and in particular with local schools, on all things in the garden and our environment in general, remains an important part of Chessington Garden Centre’s ethos.

We believe you are never too young to get stuck into the garden and caring for the environment. That’s why over the years we have been involved with school workshops, school garden design and building projects, as well as holding inter-school competitions.

Whilst starting with garden projects, each of these activities also provides an opportunity to introduce individuals to the environment and their own impact and interaction with it. For children the simple action of showing them how to sow their first seeds and care for a living plant, teaches them the value of living things, and have fun watching them grow. For adults advising them on how to grow their own produce, through to controlling resources such as heating and water, helps to expand their understanding of their environment, their impact upon it, and what they can do to improve it.

They say that all good things start at home, and to members of our team, Chessington Garden Centre is their second home; so as part of our induction process for all new team members, we have a session dedicated to our environmental policy and their role within it.

From the little things such as recycling our waste paper and turning off un-required lighting, through to ethical procurement by the buyers and directors, each team member is asked to embrace Chessington’s proud history and continued commitment to working with, and protecting, our precious environment.

Site Development

As a successful business we are always looking for ways to take the business forward and develop the site for the future and we do this whilst looking to meet the criteria of our environmental policy of reducing the company’s overall environmental impact.

One striking example of this policy is the recently completed new building works, housing both a purpose built restaurant, and new shopping space. From its inception, this state of the art building was designed and planned with both its immediate and longer term environmental impact in mind.

The first, and a very important stage of the development, was the removal of the old and outdated glasshouses. Throughout their removal every attempt was made to reduce the waste, and in particular, that sent to landfill.

During this process, we were able not only to retain and store most of the old metal frames, glass and all the old block paving for future use, but also sent almost 5 tonnes of glass, 8 tonnes of metal and over 7 tonnes of wood for recycling. On top of this, all electrical items have either been stored for future use or been sent for recycling in accordance with the Waste Electrical & Electronic Regulations. In addition to this we used all hard core produced in the demolition of the glasshouses, in the foundations of the new building.

The final and remarkable result of all this planning and effort was that only three standard sized building skips of waste was sent to landfill during the whole project.
When it came to the new building, no less effort was put into ensuring that it achieved the goals set in terms of construction and sustainability.

The most considered and striking part of the new building is its Sedum based living roof. This green roof technology will not only improve our energy efficiency by insulating the building, which in turn will reduce the amount of heating or air conditioning required, but also control surface water runoff. With its rich layer of vegetation, surface water runoff will be slowed, decreasing the risk of a storm surge affecting our reed bed system. It will also provide an extra habitat for insects, bees, birds, small animals and amphibians.  

Further innovation and the use of the latest green technology can be seen in the use of a ground source heat pump to provide heating for the new building. This involved 2500 metres of thermal pipe being buried at a depth of 1.2m in the north-west corner of the site. This piping is then connected to advanced heat exchangers which transfer heat into the under-floor heating system within the new building.

Another striking and key feature of the new building are the magnificent timber beams which form the frame of the roof construction, and are true visual focal point within their own right. Constructed from Forest Stewardship Council(FSC) certified timber, which is harvested ensuring the biodiversity, productivity and ecological processes of the forest are maintained, they are as environmentally friendly as they are beautiful.

Our Environmental Policy

The Company

Chessington Garden Centre is a garden retail business operating from a 20-acre site on the Leatherhead Road in Chessington. It has operated from the site for over 44 years and has adopted a vision of continued development of the site using sustainable design principles


We recognise that all retail businesses have an impact on the environment and the world's resources are not limitless. Chessington Garden Centre is seeking to reduce the impact that its retail business has on the environment.

Social Responsibility

Chessington Garden Centre believes that it has a social and moral responsibility for putting in place environmentally friendly measures that meet all the legislative requirements that relate to its environmental aspects.

Pollution Control

We will ensure that our operations are designed, managed and controlled to prevent pollution of the environment.


We appreciate that expressing concern for the environment is not a substitute for positive action, and accept that financial and manpower resources have to be allocated to ensure that good environmental practice is carried out in all our operations.


Managers in the company are committed to ensuring that environmental issues are considered carefully when making decisions about the running of the Centre.

Environmental Management

We are committed to continually improve our environmental performance and have introduced an Environmental Management System, which will enable us to monitor and control the activities that have an environmental impact.


The Centre operates a buying policy that includes environmental factors in its selection of products and suppliers. We will select environmentally compatible and recyclable products where appropriate.

Education and Training

All employees are provided with environmental awareness training. We will strive to raise environmental awareness among our suppliers, our customers and the local community.

Employee involvement

All employees are encouraged to act in accordance with the environmental policy and given opportunities to contribute to environmental improvement.

Plastic Carrier Bags

All our carrier bags are fully degradable and manufactured with d2w technology which changes the structure of the bag so that it is no longer plastic. Thus enabling it to degrade in the open, as much as a leaf does, causing no harm to the environment.


We will take all steps to eliminate or minimise waste at source and ensure the maximum re-use and recycling of materials.


The transport of our goods and waste is carried out with due regard to environmental considerations – vehicle efficiency, distances travelled.


This Policy and its supporting programmes are overseen by the Managing Director who ensures that it is communicated, implemented and maintained at all levels in the company.


A copy of this Environmental Policy is published on the Centre's web-site and available to members of the public.


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