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Recycling plastic plant pots

At Shoot we believe in keeping garden waste at a minimum. Minimise the number of plants you kill by following our 'Right Plant Right Place' guidance, compost any green waste and reuse and recycle plastic pots. 

Plastic Plant Pot Facts

Half a billion plant pots are in circulation in the UK each year and in the US, 95% are not recycled according to the Association of Professional Landscape Designers. 

Recycling charity RECOUP has found that only 10% of councils currently collect plant pots as part of their household kerbside collections and according to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), many still reject plastic flower pots, in part because they may contain soil and other organics that contaminate the loads.

Recycle plastic plant pots

Moreover, plant pots are still often made from a wide range of plastics, including the ubiquitous black plastic, which is rejected at the kerbside and by most re-processors because standard sorting machines struggle to detect the carbon pigment used to colour it. Re-use is always the best option.

Gardeners do what they can to recycle plastic plant pots

Most gardeners have a stack of plant pots behind the greenhouse or in the shed and most will reuse pots from year to year but occasionally, everyone needs to dispose of spare pots:

  • You’ve done a bigger garden project than usual and have spare pots 
  • You don’t have the storage space
  • Pots may split or break and be unusable

Biodegradable pot options

Made from a range of materials such as coir, wood chips, rice husks, miscanthus or seaweed, biodegradable pots are becoming increasingly popular, especially with organic gardeners. There are two types: ones that last a few months and can be planted straight into the soil, where they gradually break down and add humus to the soil; and more rigid ones made from plant materials such as rice husks and latex which last up to three years and can be put on your home compost heap to degrade.

Shoot believes in minimising garden waste

Following some feedback from our members on the topic, we conducted a Twitter poll and found 96% of our community believe that local authorities should recycle plant pots. We also had a flurry of comments on our Instagram and Facebook with suggestions of how to keep spare pots in use and also details of who will recycle broken pots. 

Please note that information shown below has come from social media sources. Some organisations may not be operating normally due to COVID-19.

UK RE-USE OPPORTUNITIES

School gardening clubs

Local allotment societies

Environment Education Teams at local councils often need plant pots

Freecycle is a free online forum that allows you to offer your plant pots locally. Anyone interested contacts you via email and then comes round at an agreed time to pick them up directly from your home. 

B&Q offer a community re-use scheme that includes plant pots (local organisations can sign up to access).

UK RECYCLING

Nurseries that recycle plastic pots

NATIONWIDE

Dobbies Garden Centres has a free plastic plant pot and tray return service. Customers can drop off plastic pots and trays at any stores and they'll make sure they don't end up in landfill.  They can take all shapes, sizes and colours, as long as they're plastic and not polystyrene, they just need a quick wash first.

ENGLAND

Cambridgeshire

Scotsdales,Shelford.

Cheshire

DB Nurseries, Dukinfield Road, Hyde Cheshire

Dorset

Haskins Garden Centres, Ferndown

Essex

Hedging Plants Direct, Colchester

Grenville Nurseries, Chelmsford

Hampshire

Haskins Garden Centres, West End, Southampton

Surrey

Haskins Garden Centres, Farnham

West Sussex

Haskins Garden Centres, Angmering

Haskins Garden Centres, Copthorne

Worcestershire

Webbs of Wychbold, Worcestershire - 

Yorkshire

Johnsons of Whixley, York

The Arium, Leeds

SCOTLAND

New Hopetoun Gardens, Edinburgh

Solstice Nurseries, Aberdeen


USA PLASTIC POTS RE-USE OPPORTUNITIES

Can anyone advise any organisations who need plant pots? School, colleges?

USA RECYCLING

USA-wide

Lowe’s Home and Garden

Home Depot

Minnesota

Hillside Nursery, Chatfield