I’ve become friendly with a lot of landscapers over the years. In conversations with these people, one thing is clear. All of these people went into the landscape business because they have always enjoyed being outside and they all have strong ties to the natural environment. Those of us landscapers who ended up in the landscape design/build part of the business have always had a dilemma. What to do with all the nursery pots? We at Designing Eden llc have always done our best to be sensitive to the environment we work in. We are always trying to repurpose first and recycle second all the extra stuff that comes home and all the waste we create from the landscapes we install. I think other landscapers and the industry can do more. I’ve witnessed many companies that throw a lot of stuff that could be repurposed. I’ve even witnessed brand new pavers going int the dump.
I have always been conscious of this waste and I always try to do my best to repurpose or recycle when possible. So what do we do with all the stuff? With plants, I have a network of friends who I call when I have ‘garbage’ plants that I don’t have the heart to recycle. The plants that truly have no life left, we drop off at a green waste recycling facility. Those plants will be turned back into compost. Extra paving material ends up roadside with a free sign or offered online. Some might think I take this ‘tread lightly’ approach too seriously. I even save all the wire baskets that come off the balled and burlapped plant material throughout the year and recycle that as well.
The one thing that has always has been an issue is all the nursery pots. As a landscape design/build company, we always have a ton of empty pots. I could never understand why nursery pots aren’t recyclable, especially with a number 1 or 2 recycle label on them. Isn’t everything labelled 1 or 2 recycleable? Apparently not. With nursery pots, we always try to return pots to the nurseries they came from. Once a year, we load up pots and head back to the local nueries and growers they came from. That does get confusing and is time consuming. I find that most nurseries don’t want the pots back due to potential diseases. Nursery pots are also offered online. Years ago, they weren’t that popular but have grown in popularity recently. I now have a handful of people who call me for used pots which is fantastic. I still put nursery pots that we can’t get rid of into our recycling bin even though I know they aren’t supposed to be put in there. My hope is that if enough pots end up in the recycling stream, someone will figure out what to do with them because putting them in household trash just doesn’t seem right.