A major buzzword over the past couple of decades has been “Recycle”. Catchy slogans such as “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” echo through schools and the minds of children across the country. And for good reason too, the amount of pollution in the world is increasing each year and it is having adverse effects on the Earth. Scientists are finding fish at the bottom of the Mariana Trench (the deepest place on Earth) with plastic in their bellies.
If plastic is finding its way down 36,201 feet, you can assume that there is no place on Earth completely free of plastic. This plastic is detrimental to the environment and the organisms that reside within. The best way that you can help the environment is by reducing your plastic use, or if that’s not possible, reusing and recycling the plastic you do use goes a long way.
One of the biggest sources of plastic in the plant world is the pots. If you go to a greenhouse or store that sells plants, it is likely that they are filled with plastic pots. It is hard to blame the companies for using these pots. They are cheaper, lighter, less likely to break and easier to transport than non-plastic options. Although there are eco-friendly alternatives out there, plastic pots are still used frequently. As long as this is the case, there will always be a need to recycle plant pots.
Where can I recycle plant pots?
A question that may arise when going through the recycling process is where do I recycle plant pots? Depending on your local government, throwing them out with the rest of your recycling might not be allowed or sufficient. Two giants in the plant and home gardening industry, Home Depot and Lowe’s, actually have plant pot recycling programs. Since 2009, Home Depot has run their Plant Pot Recycling Program where you can return plastic pots that hold flowers, plants bushes and more.
This program is responsible for 15 million pounds of plastic being reused and recycled which significantly cuts down on the amount of waste in landfills. Lowe’s also provides a similar program, where you can return plastic pots, amongst other home items, to help reduce landfill waste. Return your pots to any Lowe’s associate and your good deed for the planet is complete! If you don’t live near either a Lowe’s or Home Depot, check with your local greenery or nature center. There is a chance they have a similar program and might be thankful for the pots as they no longer need to buy pots for their plants. They can just reuse yours!
What types of pots can be recycled?
If you are unsure of which plant pots can and cannot be recycled, your best bet would be to do some research. Look into your town/city’s recycle requirements. Most of the time, if your plant pot is made of polypropylene, you can recycle it in your regular recycling. This will be marked with a 5 on the base of the pot. However, some cities may not accept that as the dirt and water remnants on the pot can make it “contaminated”.
To be safe, call your local town hall to find out the rules on recycling in your town. On top of this, you can call local nurseries or greenhouses as they might have experience in the field of recycling plant pots. Before you recycle plant pots at any of these locations, make sure that they are thoroughly cleaned and free of contaminants. As is the case with most plastics, if they aren’t free of dirt or liquid, they will be marked as contaminated and will be unable to be recycled.
Where can I buy pots that don’t need recycled?
One of the easiest ways to avoid this issue of finding out where, when and what to recycle, is to have pots that don’t need recycling at all. Eco-friendly pots are the best way to avoid these issues. Check out this blog from Soltech on the top 10 eco-friendly plant pots. Not only are eco-friendly plants good for the planet, but they also provide a nice aesthetics to your home. Whether you are after a BOHO feel or a rustic feel, there is a reusable plant pot out there just for you.
How can I reuse pots in my own home?
If none of these options are viable for you, or you’d just like to keep plants around your home over the colder months of the year, try to reuse your pots within your home. Not all plants can thrive indoors the same way they can outdoors, however there is a wide range of plants that do enjoy being indoors as much as being outdoors. Check out this blog from Soltech to learn more about plants that can come inside for the winter without adverse effects. If you have these plants, you can reuse your pots to house them indoors.