According to a 2018 episode of Gardeners World the UK uses half a billion plastic pots and trays per year. Gardening expert and designer Arit Anderson estimates that if all these trays were spread out over the grounds of the Chelsea Flower Show they would cover it 149 times…per year!
Fortunately the plastic tide is slowly starting to turn with introductions of bioplastics and other alternatives.
Most plant pots are made of post consumer waste. That’s the good news. The bad news is standard black nursery pots are themselves, difficult to recycle. Many depots use a light scanner to sort the plastics but black pots don’t reflect the light back to the machines, making them hard to sort mechanically.
The industry is doing some testing with making lighter colours of pots to offset this problem. There is some concern that the lighter pots will do a poorer job of shielding roots from sunlight, resulting in less healthy plants, but hopefully that won’t be a problem.
You can learn more about all of this by viewing the 2018 Episode 25 of Gardeners World.
Gardeners are connected to the earth by the very passion that defines them. If they demand changes, the industry will have no choice but to listen. We need to continue to come up with viable solutions together.