Shoppers Are Now Demanding Home Depot Stop Selling This
You could unknowingly purchase one of these "destructive" products.
Most of us head to Home Depot with a list in hand or a project in mind. Unless you're really into home improvement, you probably aren't aimlessly wandering the aisles. The retailer's inventory is pretty specific—but that's not to say it's limited, as these stores carry everything from massive appliances to the tiniest nuts and bolts. There's one product Home Depot has on its shelves that some shoppers aren't happy about, however, and there's now a petition to have it removed. Read on to find out what customers are demanding that these stores stop selling.
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More attention has been given to invasive species lately.
Just the word "invasive" has a negative connotation, and when it's applied to plants, you should certainly heed the warning. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, invasive species are those that are not native to U.S. ecosystems, and when introduced are "likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health."
Invasive plants are able to crowd out native species, and because they have no natural predators, they can spread quickly and without restraint. They can also disrupt the food chain and the diversity of species, according to the National Wildlife Foundation. Removing and containing them is also wildly expensive, costing the U.S. $21 billion annually, according to data from a February study published in the journal Science of The Total Environment.
With that in mind, it's clear you should be avoiding invasive species as much as possible. Unfortunately, you could be purchasing them accidentally right from the garden center at Home Depot.
Avoid these plants when shopping.
Invasive plants are a threat to the environment, but Home Depot currently sells a wide range both in stores and online, including cogongrass, Chinese and Japanese privet, yellow flag iris, Japanese barberry, English ivy, and Callery pear trees, to name a few. Now, a petition on Change.org has gained steam, calling for the home improvement retailer to stop the sale of these invasives altogether.
"Gardeners and homeowners are trusting Home Depot to sell plants that are beneficial for our homes, neighborhoods, and environment—not plants that are destructive to our economy, health, and parklands," the petition, launched by Lauren Taylor, reads. "Instead of making things better, Home Depot is creating a bigger problem by selling these invasive plants."
The petition has almost 50,000 signatures.
According to FFXnow, Taylor is a volunteer for the Fairfax County Invasive Management Area in Virginia, and she was motivated to launch the petition after spotting certain invasive plants at Home Depot stores in Virginia. By Taylor's calculations, Home Depot sells at least 35 plants that are considered invasive in one or more parts of the country, she told the news outlet.
"So, Home Depot, I'm sure they sell hundreds, if not potentially thousands of different [units] of plants," Taylor told FFXnow. "We're only asking them to stop selling 35."
Since its launch earlier this summer, the online petition—which is addressed to Ted Decker, Home Depot CEO and president, and Craig Menear, the retailer's chair of the board—has reached nearly 50,000 signatures as of Aug. 17. It has also gained the support of several advocacy organizations, FFXnow reported, including Blue Ridge PRISM, Plant NOVA Natives, and the Urban Forest Alliance.
Best Life reached out to Home Depot for comment on the petition and the sale of invasive plants, but has not yet heard back.
The issue is not limited to Home Depot.
In the petition, Taylor stated that Home Depot "is by far the worst place to go for unknowingly buying invasive plants." However, it's not the only retailer keeping these dangerous plants in stock, she said, adding that they are sold online and at garden centers across the country.
"I shouldn't have to question whether the plant I'm buying will harm the planet, or threaten my children's future, by destroying our ecosystems," Taylor wrote in the petition.
She further asserted that the "uneducated general public" is the biggest problem, as they buy these plants that look "innocent in their small pots in the garden center." The average gardener might not be aware that the pretty periwinkle flowers are invasive in 11 U.S. states, or that the butterfly bush they're buying is invasive in six.
"Invasive species are so out of control that many people feel completely helpless," Taylor wrote, inciting a call to action. "But we have to start somewhere, and Home Depot can start today. Stop selling invasive plants. It's only going to get worse unless we make a change now."