Recycling Nursery Pots
More and more nurseries are accepting used plant pots. Here's how to prepare the containers for recycling.
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Most gardeners are, by nature, recyclers. They use newspapers as weed barriers instead of buying plastic versions. They recycle grass clippings by using a mulching mower. And they recycle kitchen and garden refuse of all kinds by maintaining a compost pile, which is the ultimate form of recycling.
However, year after year, hundreds, if not thousands, of plastic nursery pots are sent to the landfill. That's a shame, especially when you consider that they take eons to decompose. So rather than tossing them in the trash, consider recycling your leftover nursery pots instead.
Many recycling services unfortunately won't take these pots, but more and more nurseries are recycling pots for customers, regardless of whether you bought the plant that was in the pot from them or not. Check with your local garden center or nursery to see if they have a pot recycling program. If they do, they may ask you to do a few things before you bring the pots in for recycling.
Take time to empty the pots of their contents, such as potting mix, leaves or trash in one form or another. You most likely won't have to rinse them; just get rid of the junk inside them. Be careful when tackling this task because black widow spiders find dirty pots to be ideal nesting sites. Snakes might also choose to call them home. Next, stack the pots as best you can by nesting together those of the same or similar diameters.
When you get to the nursery, you'll probably be asked to drive to the recycling drop site, and in some cases you'll have to unload the pots yourself. That's a small price to pay for doing the right thing. After all, generations to come shouldn't be faced with the burden of what to do with all these pots.
Robb Whittlef shows Joan Steffend how to create beautiful accessories out of old finials.