Plant pots that can be recycled

on Tuesday, 22 January 2019. Posted in News

Matthew Appleby (Horticulture Week) reported in the Telegraph some possible good news.

As a result of David Attenborough's Blue Planet II rant about plastic followed by Monty Don putting it into a horticultural context on BBC Gardeners' World, it looks as though taupe recyclable plant pots maybe available in the UK later this year.
'A September special (BBC Gardeners' World) on plant pots was the most-watched edition of the year, and a follow-up broadcast on plastic pot alternatives will be featured in the next series this year. About 500 million pots are used annually – and millions of taupe pots will be available in 2019.

David Attenborough

David Attenborough

Monty Don

Monty Don

'Taupe (and any other lighter colour) is detectable by recycling machines (black isn’t), so is better suited to kerbside recycling schemes. However, there is evidence that 87 per cent of pots are still not recycled by councils, even though many could easily be made into new plastic products.'

Taupe flower pots

Taupe plant pots

From Monty Don's Twitter feed after the Gardeners' World programme that featured plastic use.
1. Gardening uses far too much plastic of all kinds but particularly black plastic pots that cannot be recycled. 1/3

2. The best thing gardeners can do with current plastic pots is to use and reuse them as much as possible. 3. Alternative materials are not as successful and not as available. More work needs to be done on this. 4. A new taupe pot is being trialled.

3. The Taupe pot is recyclable so potentially helps a great deal. Finally: Gardeners have to use MUCH less plastic and now. If we gardeners are not part of the solution then we become the problem.

Plant pots bamboo and rice

Biodegradable bamboo and rice plant pots borrowed from Monty Don's Twitter feed courtesy of @sagardenwriter

Alternatives

Biodegradable flowerpots should be popular in 2019 CREDIT: THE GARDEN COLLECTION
Plastic alternatives include Haxnicks bamboo seed trays and pots (£5.99 for 6in/15cm pots) and coir pots, as used by the Hairy Pot Plant Company (sold via thenaturalgardener.co.uk). Aluminium foil containers have been trialled by the National Trust and jute is another option. US company Ecoform offers biodegradable pots made of renewable grain fibres (not yet available here).

However, plastic makes by far the most practical container for growing and transporting plants so recycling is still an important option.

European suppliers
Meanwhile we still need an update from our European suppliers about how they will address the recycling of plant pots and other plastics connected with the industry. We know that talks have been instigated - so please watch this space!