Grow Your Own Food (Sustainably) With Box + Sprout’s Eco-Friendly, Food-Growing Subscription Box

The gardening industry comes with major sustainability challenges, – such as the issue with single-use plastic, and unsustainable peat compost. Box + Sprout are looking to change that, – by making it easy for young, millennial gardeners to grow their own food – sustainably.

Box + Sprout initially launched their debut pilot subscription box back in January (2021), – which delivered a selection of in-season plants that customers could grow at home each month. 

Knowing what to grow and when to grow it isn’t easy for novice gardeners, so the pilot subscription service aimed to make that process easier. BUT, through running the service, the Founders quickly discovered that there were some fundamental issues in the market, that they should address: 

  • Growing plants in single-used plastic pots is by far the cheapest and most common way of growing container plants (500 million plastic pots are sold in the UK every year, with 95% ending up in landfill).
  • Growing in “peat” compost is still the most common soil used. Peat is a material which takes thousands of years to grow, and is a huge carbon sink (3 million cubic metres of peat is sold in the UK every year).
  • Because of the weight and size of the products, many customers still have to travel to garden centres by car, – an inefficient use of fuel in comparison to delivery.

So Box + Sprout’s Founders put their brains to work, and they made some critical changes. NOW, their soil mixes are peat-free, their pots are compostable and biodegradable, and they use recycled plastic bottles in their fabric pots, and all of their other materials used, – are either recycled or recyclable. Whilst the start-up can’t claim to be 100% plastic-free yet, they are working on changing this…

The Founders, Charlie and Rob said: “As millennials ourselves, we feel that the climate is an important thing for businesses to take seriously. And when we took to growing stuff over lockdown, we realised that there’s a real challenge with growing sustainability. We want to make it easy for people to learn to grow sustainably, so that we can reduce our impact on the planet, rather than increasing it.

The Founders, Charlie and Rob

Prior to launching Box + Sprout, Charlie spent 5 years working for Reckitt Benckiser in a variety of sales and marketing roles. Having joined the future leaders program, he worked on household brands, such as Finish and Vanish. He also spent over 2 years working in their ecommerce division. Recently, he turned down offers to study at London and Oxford business schools to set-up Box + Sprout.

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Rob has a degree in Engineering. He spent 5 years in product design and in an engineering consultancy, – taking products from concept through to prototyping, to gaining user feedback, to mass production. He worked for several start-ups before taking the opportunity to build his own.

Rob explained: “This company is our baby of lockdown. Charlie and I met in 2019 through a start-up accelerator programme. Our initial business ideas became redundant in lockdown, but we wanted to help people during the unique circumstances of life in 2020. We saw that growing things could really help.’

To date, Box + Sprout has been featured in several publications, such as in London Loves Business, and the brand is currently focussing on building its’ subscription service. They also sell one-off kits through Amazon. 

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