Recycling Plastic Flower Pots
If you are unlike me and can keep a plant alive long enough to get it home from a nursery and then transplant it, you may acquire plastic pots or seedling trays. I often get calls from residents wanting to know how to best dispose of plastic flower pots and trays.
Reduce. Consider purchasing plants from seedlings or seeds if this is possible.
If you make your own seedlings, cut up toilet paper tubes, newspaper, or paper towel tubes. This way you can plant the entire seedling with growing container and all!
Reuse. There are a lot of great ideas on the internet. Some include:
- Wipe out fire ants in your yard or on the patio. Place a flowerpot upside down over the anthill where these stinging attackers reside. Pour a kettle full of boiling water through the drain hole.
- Keep your yarn tangle-free while you’re knitting or crocheting. Place the ball of yard under an upturned flowerpot and thread the end through the drain hole. Set it next to your favorite craft spot and purl away.
- Help shallow-rooting plants establish themselves in a new, large container. Rather than fill the container top to bottom with potting soil, set a medium-sized flower pot upside down in the bottom of the container. Add the potting soil, and then repot the new plant.
Also, check with the nursery you originally purchased your plants or seedlings from. They may be interested in taking them back so that they don’t have to buy new ones every year. This option works best with nursery’s that grow their own plants and seedlings from seeds. Consider purchasing plants only from a nursery that offers this take-back program.
Recycle. Recycling these rigid plastics is currently very difficult, as the commodities markets are suffering from the poor economy. While Whole Foods has a stable market and collects plastic #5’s, this program does not address other numbered pots. Occasionally there will be special collections for these pots at Boerner Botanical Gardens, however there is not one scheduled for this year.
As recycling markets are supported by people purchasing items made from post-consumer recycled content, demand for the collection of these products also rises. Whenever possible, be sure to practice the 5th R and ‘Rebuy’.