From commercial growers to hobby gardeners, a polytunnel can offer a vast range of benefits to businesses and consumers looking to become more sustainable.

Environmentally-conscious people often question the use of polytunnels due to their reliance on polythene covers which, although they can be produced from renewable resources, are mainly obtained from petroleum and natural gas. But polytunnels can help individuals and businesses to lower their carbon footprints over the time of their use.

Polytunnels assist commercial growers in increasing their yields to provide British consumers with year-round soft fruits, vegetables and ornamental flowers, limiting our reliance on imported goods and cutting food miles. On the allotment, meanwhile, they can help gardening enthusiasts to make the most of resources such as water and compost.

Our polytunnels last a lifetime, and over this time they can allow for a lot of organic growing and reduce the amount of food from non-sustainable sources that have to be bought. Once the polytunnel has reached the end of its useful life - through UV degradation, age or damage - the plastic covering of the polytunnel can also be recycled.

In fact, there are many applications for which the hard-wearing polythene used on polytunnels can be recycled. Our commercial polythene waste, for instance, can be sent back to our supplier to be cleaned and, along with hay bale wrap, is used to create 100% recycled ‘second life’ products such as re-usable garden refuse sacks and silage wrap.

Alternatively, you can give your polytunnel cover a second life on your allotment, in your garden or around your home. If you use your imagination, you can recycle your polytunnel plastic by using it to make a range of useful items including cloches or cold frames, mini-polytunnels, or a waterproof covering for outdoor furniture or machinery.

If you've got any ideas on how to make polytunnels more environmentally-friendly, we'd love to hear from you. Share your ‘green’ tips and photos of your creative recycling projects with our Facebook community