The Plastic pot problem

As part of our climate series over on our instagram we addressed the issue of plastic pots. This blog post is a summary of the discussion that can also be read on our instagram!

Plastic pots what’s the issue?

What if we told you every year 500 million plastic pots are in circulation in the horticulture industry every year in the UK!

This issue is when we or you go to a nursery of garden centre and buy our pants they all come in plastic pots most of witch are black. Once we have planted the plant in the ground the plastic pot becomes redundant. The natural path is for you to put it in the bin. However, if you bin a black pot the recycling technology will not pick it up so it will go to landfill. Great use of plastic! This ultimately means lots of plastic pots unfortunately end up in landfill taking decades to break down and making more needing to be produced.

I was on a good friend Marc O’neill’s instagram and I saw on his story that he found a plastic pot wash up on a Kent beach. The thought our plastic posts are ending up in the ocean is horrifying so we need to do something to sort this issue out!

The Solution!

We had an incredible response on Instagram with solutions and it was great to find so many people are thinking about the issue and making small changes to their businesses to help play a small role in solving the problem.

  • Architectural Plants in West Sussex offer you vouchers to spend in the nursery when you return your plastic pot for them to reuse
  • Great Dixter Nursery will dispatch there plants in newspaper if you order them by post allowing them to reuse the posts. They are also open to people returning there pots once they have planted there Dixter plants!
  • Steve Edney (Head Gardener at the Salutation in Sandwich) uses Viposts. These are made out of natural materials so are biodegradable. You can use them a few times to grow plants in before they break down so are not a single use item.
  • You can also use other things to grow platens in e.g. old tin cans or plastic food pots. This helps to prolong there life instead of just going straight in the bin!
  • Howard Nurseries also suggested that maybe field grown perennials could be the answer to supply in winter to reduce posts. I know Christopher Lloyd used to grow in terracotta post and then wrap the plant in newspaper for costumers to take home so he could re use the terracotta pot.
  • The Hairy Pot company apparently grow in a pot made from waste coir fibres bound with natural latex. You can plant them straight in the ground in the pot and the pot breaks down in the soil.

What are we doing to help?

When we plant gardens we can use 100s of plants each coming individually in plastic pots. Our policy is that we only buy from nursery who we are able to return the pots to as then we do not waste plastic. Also when we buy trees and shrubs we try to get them grown in air pots. This not only helps with there establishment in your new garden but also helps to reduce plastic as the nursery will reuse the air post onsite.

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