Reusing and recycling those plant pots

Tue. Jun. 25, 2019

Click below to listen to my 2 min Garden Bite radio show:   Reusing and recycling those plant pots

I had stacks of pots from plant purchases I made and, I admit, I put them in my recycling bin because I thought that’s where they went.

Then I read an article from another gardener who noted that Home Depot reuses them and then recycles them. ANY pots.

UPDATE 6-26-19 Lowes Home Stores will accept any and all plastic garden pots, including labels, for recycling. The stores also accept nursery trays and pots for recycling, as well as clean, empty mulch bags.

Lowe’s Senior Merchant of Lawn and Garden Harry Barker says the company’s vendors pick up the plastic pots from the stores and then recycle them through their plastic suppliers to be used again as plant pots.

 “We are excited to work with great suppliers that share our passion for conserving resources and protecting the environment.  With their help, we were able to capture over nine million pounds of plastic for reuse in 2018,” said Chris Cassell, Director of Corporate Sustainability at Lowe’s.

And then I called my garbage provider and found out that they accept only the ones with the numbers 1, 3 or 5. Hmmm, I don’t know what mine said. Based on pictures, I’m guessing quite of few of mine had those numbers but I can’t say for sure. Recycling information on all plastics 

So, I had to buy more plants, just to see… you know, it’s research!

Quite an array of pots

I’ve always tried to buy my plants at local nurseries for several reasons:

  • I own a small business and understand what it means to have local support
  • Their plants are locally grown so are better acclimatized to my area
  • They are less likely to have been sprayed with chemicals
  • If I have an issue with the plant, my local nursery is right there ready to answer questions or, if necessary, replace the plant right then.

But what about those pots?

While number 6 isn’t great, it DOES mean that this has already been recycled
This guy can go into my recycling bin!
and another winner

My hyper local nurseries recycle their own pots, but they don’t accept others, it doesn’t work for their system, which I understand. Shout out to Eco Gardens (they also only sell Creekside Soils) and Knecht’s Nurseries 

I was surprised to learn that 2 of my other go-to nurseries that are local but on a much larger scale, do not recycle pots, they haven’t for years. Both of them saying that our garbage provider does.

I do have a Home Depot about 23 miles from where I live. They accept everything. According to their information, Every year, people throw away enough plastics to circle the Earth four times. I’m going to be completely honest here and say I never buy plants from there. However, I’ve bought other stuff so I don’t feel guilty about bringing those pots to them!

Customers can bring back their empty pots and they’ll be reused until they’re no longer reusable, The Home Depot’s partner, East Jordan Plastics Inc., turns them into new pots, trays, and hanging baskets. Every year, they recycle more than 15 million pounds of used plastic containers, equivalent to nearly 1,000 semi-truck loads of containers.  

Recycled plastic containers can recover upwards of 60% of the energy tied to initial product processing and diverts unnecessary waste from the landfill.

There are other ways to reuse those pots!  I’ve spray painted over some… from black plastic to matching my plants!

This just happened to turn out right with the color scheme but you can really go crazy with all the colors of spray paints offered!