It’s no surprise to anyone presently that there is a big issue around the use of plastic and one industry that this is exceedingly prevalent in is the horticultural business. It’s difficult to find numbers to apply to the problem as there are so many produces of plants getting their pots and tray from so many suppliers but you only have to look at the amount discarded by each garden centre to appreciate the problem. I think the number of non sustainable plants pots and seed trays that are actually used would be staggering to see. For me one of the biggest issues is the quantity of black plastic trays that sold with the annual festival of bedding plants, none of these are recyclable and most aren’t going to get reused.
Sustainable plant pots
It’s one thing to have the pots made from recycled material as this is one solution to a problem, it”s not going to solve anything about the waster from the pots that people then don’t reuse. There are more alternatives starting to come onto the market and just to make the pots recyclable has to be a good first step. As the black plastic that we currently use can’t be detected by the sorting machines it all ends up in landfill, even at my local tip we are advised to put it in the general waste not even in with the other general plastics. It took a little digging about but here is a link to the company that is making them, I think that I’ll be putting in an order soon.
Compostable plant pots
The other alternatives are to use the recycled paper pots that are becoming increasingly available and I’ve noticed considerably cheaper than they were even only a year ago. I’ve had good success with these although they do have a tendency to dry out much quicker so you have to really stay on top of the watering. I’m using them only to transplant my plants into at the point of sale though as I find the regular pots are exceedingly reusable and I know that I will.
Modiform are a company that have started to invest in the idea of these compostable paper products and from the look of it are much better than the one that I’m seeing appear in the shops. If what people are offered on a regular basis is an inferior product then that will be the impression that is given to them all. To have high quality durable yet still compostable pots and trays will be a real bonus to the whole industry.
If you’re working on a small scale at home then of course you can make your own or use things like spent toilet rolls. These are great alternatives that work exceedingly well in the short term but the issue is in the mass production. If you’re propagating at home the best thing that you could do is reuse the pots that you already have.