Principles & Ethics
Buy Once, Buy Well
I've been in love with nature since I was a child. My life has been devoted to exploring, preserving and celebrating plants and the landscapes they inhabit. As I build Dan Cooper Garden, I wish to do nothing that diminishes nature and as much as possible to enhance it. From the foundations of the business through to everyday decisions, I pledge to choose the most sustainable, ethical options open to me at that moment. Of course, there will be times when I will fall short of my high standards, but I will always be honest when that happens and endeavour to do better.
Having grown up in one of the fiercest periods of consumerism in history, I have settled in a place where I prefer to invest in quality items that will last for years, the rest of my life, or perhaps beyond. I apply the same principles to the products I choose for Dan Cooper Garden, selecting items that are simply designed, well made and easy to look after. As humans, we seem intent on creating work for ourselves through complexity. I prefer to claim that time and energy back for gardening.
Naturally, products such as seeds and plant food are destined to be used, so I ensure they'll leave no negative traces on the earth.
I enjoyed a long career travelling the world to source new, exciting products for a well-known department store. I consciously decided to stay closer to home when building my collection. With the epicentre at home in East Kent, my search for great product focusses on the UK first, then extending to Europe. If I venture further afield, it's because there's a particular skill or material in a certain location that I can't find elsewhere, for example, blades forged in Japan, or rubber harvested in Sri Lanka. This is not at any cost, and only when I am reassured the products can be produced and transported sustainably and ethically.
If you believe I am missing a trick, or have questions about a product's provenance, you are welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I price products fairly and considerately to offer you the best value possible and generate enough profit to keep my business healthy. I don’t inflate prices to allow for discounts and promotions. You should feel reassured that the price you pay today will be the same every day. If a product is reduced in price, it will be because I have decided it's time to replace it with something new.
Postage is charged at cost, so what you pay is what the delivery company charges me. Packing and packaging is free.
There are many reasons why prices for similar items differ on the Internet. While nobody likes to miss out on a bargain, it's worth considering the actual value being offered and which retailers you'd still like to be shopping from five years from now.
When you receive a package from Dan Cooper Garden, I want you to know how grateful I am for your purchase by presenting it carefully and attractively. I also want your items to arrive in tip-top condition. As such I endeavour to use the minimum amount of materials to transport your order safely. Every parcel is different, so this is not an exact science.
The use of plastic is kept to an absolute minimum for all Dan Cooper Garden packaging, the only exception being very small amounts of bubble wrap used to protect glass Christmas ornaments. This can be recycled and will be phased out at the earliest opportunity. All other packaging elements are sustainably derived from natural materials and can be reused, recycled or composted. Read on for details of how to dispose of each component.
The suppliers of some branded products use plastic in their packaging, either for protection (e.g. sharp blades), hygiene or future storage. Where possible, I work with my suppliers to remove plastic or seek more sustainable alternatives.
Outer boxes - the cardboard box in which your parcel arrives will be made from 60% to 90% recycled content. It is recyclable and biodegradable.
Top Tip - cardboard plays an important role in no-dig gardening. Flattened out with any staples removed, it can be used to create new beds or to suppress weeds.
Kraft paper tape - this is not reinforced and can be recycled with the cardboard to which it's attached.
Paper labels - these can be recycled.
Top Tip - do not go to the effort of removing paper tape and labels from boxes - they stand a better chance of being recycled if they're stuck to the cardboard.
Paper carrier bags - these are made from unbleached, recycled kraft paper that is recyclable and biodegradable.
Top Tip - reusing your paper bag with pride helps to spread the word about Dan Cooper Garden. If your purchase is a gift, why not tie some natural raffia into a bow around the handles and present it just like that?
Thank you cards - the postcard that greets you when you open your parcel is made from sustainably sourced pulp and is left uncoated for easy recycling.
Top Tip - keep the card safe in case you need to return something. When you've no further use for it, why not pass it to a fellow garden lover who might like to learn about Dan Cooper Garden?
Crumpled paper - The paper we use is 100% recycled, neutral ph kraft paper and is recyclable and biodegradable.
Top Tip - crumpled paper is great for getting fires started. It can be coarsely shredded and added to your compost heap, or flattened out and used as a weed barrier between plants.
Honeycomb paper - This clever, expanding paper is unbleached, recyclable and biodegradable. Because it clings to itself, it also reduces the amount of tape required.
Top Tip - honeycomb paper is worth keeping for sending fragile items of your own. It's excellent for lighting woodburners and for wrapping and storing dahlia tubers over winter.
Tissue paper - This is acid and chlorine free, and is recyclable and biodegradable.
Top Tip - a pleasing green, this tissue can be kept for protecting and wrapping Christmas gifts. Gently flattened, it will provide a flattering foil for a handpicked posey.
Loose fill - Often mistaken for polystyrene and referred to as 'packing peanuts' or 'Cheesy Wotsits', these pale puffs of corn starch are completely natural. ‘EcoFlo’ is 100% biodegradable, made in a low energy manufacturing process.
Top Tip - Add loose fill to your compost heap, choosing a dry day and weighing it down with other materials so that it can't blow away. Kids will have great fun dampening the ends and sticking the puffs together to create amusing sculptures - Pinterest is a great source of ideas. If you have no other use for them, the puffs can be diluted with water and safely washed down a drain.