Plastic use is a big problem and one that we can all help to minimise by doing our bit. There is a lot of plastic usage in the horticultural industry but just about everything can be reused or recycled in numerous ways both in the garden and at home. It’s a great way to ensure plastic doesn't go to landfill and saves money at the same time. There are lots of ways to reuse old pots of any kind, including ceramic pots and plastic seed trays for many years of gardening:
- Ceramic pots
- Plastic pots
- Module trays
- Recycle schemes
Reuse and recycle your ceramic pots
Ceramic pots look fantastic and can be used for many different size plants in the garden. However once the plants have outgrown the pot, when you move them on to a bigger pot don't discard the older one. Over time ceramic pots can crack and chip but if you don't like the rustic look, give it a clean-up, repair any damage and it will be as good as new again.
Plastic pots can easily be reused and recycled in the garden
The majority of plants bought at garden centres and nurseries are supplied in a plastic pot. When you go on to plant out your new purchase, don't discard the pot as they are great for recycling and reusing. Pots can be washed with warm soapy water after each use to make sure there are no pests or diseases, stored safely and used to pot on plants, sow seeds and for propagation. If you look after them, they can be used time and time again.
Reuse and recycle your plastic module trays
Module trays are often used in plant propagation and are widely available. The benefit of module trays is that each module can grow one or two plants in each, making them easy to lift and transplant seedlings to new pots or in the ground. Due to the relatively fast turnaround at this stage, it means seed trays and modules can be used multiple times even in one season, let alone over the years. As with any of your pots, if they are still usable you could donate them to a local community garden or school.
Check out a plastic pot recycling scheme to recycle your garden pots
After you have reused and recycled your pots over many years, they may become well past their best and unusable anymore. At which point look up where they can be disposed of safely. There are some plastic pot recycling schemes available that you can find online or locally, but also most recycling centres accept non-black plastic pots. If you ask they may also take your black plastic on certain days.