Plant Plastic

The balcony on my lovely new apartment was looking pretty bare, except for my old bike that badly needs to be traded in. And with summer kicking in, this just wouldn’t do.

So my garden-loving mom brought a couple packs of pretty flowers to drop in the pot that made the journey with me from my old apartment.

Within a few minutes, they were all situated, and I was left with pretty plants in a black pot and empty dirty black plastic packs.

A bit of brightness

Naturally, with my new recycling eyes always on, I couldn’t expect to throw them away.

My mind jumped back to a couple weeks ago when I saw a post from Whole Foods on Facebook regarding these little plastic packs. It noted that they are usually made from #5 plastic, which the store accepts to be recycled.

I figured I would clean them up and drop them off there, but decided to look around online for a little more info because the packs I have don’t have a number stamped on them.

Plant plastic

I ran across an Illinois Times article that said most are actually #6 though, so just check with your recycling authority to make sure they accept either number. Many separate your recyclables for you though, so it’s just your job to make sure it makes it in with the rest.

Another great option I became aware of through my mom (she’s taken up recycling awareness and learning about it too) is that plant nurseries may take them and recycle them for you. The marquee outside a local business, American Tree, announced that they’ll take plant packs back once your flowers are planted.

A (a work in progress) burst of beauty on an otherwise ugly balcony. 6.15.10

That Illinois Times article I found also said, “a 2004, Penn State University College of Agriculture Sciences estimated that cell packs, flats and assorted nursery pots alone account for more than 320 million pounds of waste each year.”

That 320 million pounds could so easily be kept out of landfills. Chances are, if you’re gardening, you’re also watering. Just rinse out the plastic  containers and stash them with your typical recyclables, and you’ve done your part with practically no extra effort.

So this is just a friendly reminder — even though spring planting might be coming to an end for many — to not overlook the plastic cell packs when gardening! They’re easy to clean up and have their own place in the recycling plan.


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