Factory plastic bench vs artisan wood

Range of plastic benches

Is recycled plastic really the best choice?

What we ask for makes a differnce

I’m working on an RHS show garden with a Community Assembly in the heart of a wildlife forest garden. It’s about rekindling hope in gardening and democracy, and it’s called the Hope Garden.

The plan is to partner up with a community organisation and create a prototype garden in West Wales. The budget for this is considerably less than the massive costs involved in an RHS show garden, and I wanted to reduce the price of the benches used.

In the show garden, the idea is to use Larch benches with slats, similar to this bench design but without the back.

Wooden bench

Larch wooden bench by David Hunter

However, the estimated cost is about £200. I looked at the recycled plastic benches as used by the charity Keep Wales Tidy. They’re about £120, and made from recycled silage plastic. The feedback from the Hope Garden group was that maybe plastic is not the material of choice for a hopeful garden!

This really encapsulates a significant issue: doing the right thing costs more time, effort and money. The less resources you have, the greater the pressure to buy cheap, non-recyclable stuff.

But we have to make a change, and those with more resources need to lead the way on this, by increasing demand for local, sustainable practices, the price for everyone can be lowered.

I did some research and asked David Hunter from The Coppice Plot if he could create a simpler design cheaper, something like this solid plank bench (without the back).

Solid plank bench

A simpler design and less cost

He said yes, about £100 per bench. Locally grown Larch, artisan crafted benches for less money than a mass produced recycled plastic bench that relies on a polluting industry. The choice is yours, if you look hard enough.