London Heathrow Airport and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, have partnered to develop an exclusive sustainable shopping bag for passengers to raise funds for Kew’s science work as a global resource for plant and fungal knowledge.
The bag was created exclusively for Heathrow by Kew and Wakehurst using an illustration by designer Rachel Pedder-Smith. Wakehurst is Kew’s wild botanic garden in Sussex and the home of the Millennium Seed Bank (MSB), the largest wild plant seed bank in the world and a global resource for conservation of plants. The seed bank works as an ‘insurance policy’ against plant extinction – especially for rare, endemic and economically important species – so that they be protected and utilized for the future.
Illustrations of some of the seeds stored in the world-famous MSB, which currently houses over two billion seeds from 189 countries, are featured on the bag. The design focuses specifically on the legume plant family, especially fruits and seeds, inspired by those in Kew’s collections, including the economically important peanut (Arachis hypogaea), which originates from the Americas, and Entada, a genus of mainly lianas growing around the world, the seeds of which are commonly known as ‘sea hearts’ and are capable of drifting across oceans and even turning up on the beaches of Cornwall and Ireland.
The sustainable bag is designed to be reused and is made from 80% recycled material. Over 200,000 passengers pass through Heathrow’s terminals each day and the unique bag can be purchased across all terminals for £3.99 (US$5), with 25% from each purchase going to Kew.
Fraser Brown, retail director, Heathrow, said, “We are delighted to begin this partnership with Kew, offering something entirely unique to all our passengers. Heathrow flies to over 200 destinations, helping to transport scientists involved in collecting seeds around the world. We hope travelers will enjoy this exclusive design, taking a little piece of Britain with them.”
Sandra Botterell, director of marketing and commercial enterprise at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, said, “We’re so pleased to be partnering with Heathrow on this exciting opportunity to showcase Kew’s vital science work to a global audience. Kew’s scientists have long used Heathrow as a travel hub for our vital conservation work across the world. It’s wonderful for Heathrow to be selling this beautifully designed bag to raise money that will allow us to continue in our mission to live in a world where plants and fungi are understood, valued and conserved.”