2018 was the year when we were all made aware that plastic, while an extremely useful material is also causing serious harm to our planet. We like many people were impacted by the sight of so much plastic in our Oceans and so we have been looking at how we can make the plastic we use as environmentally friendly as possible. We’ve set about reducing the amount of plastic we use, and where we do use it we are actively seeking to use recycled materials, while at the same time enabling the plastic we use to be recycled.
This year we’ve decided to deliver our larger pots sized plants loose on trolleys to our wholesale customers, eliminating the use of a transport tray which will save a considerable amount of plastic per year. We are also taking back all outer trays from our wholesale customers so that they can be re-used on the nursery, creating a circular loop of continual use. When the trays we use do reach the end of their life they are all stacked on pallets and sent to a recycling site where they are made into new trays to hold plants. We’re really pleased that all the packaging used to hold packs and pots of plants will be put to good use in a closed system and then made into new trays when they come to the end of their usable life.
All our plant pots are currently made from recycled materials. This is generally industrial waste and is increasingly containing consumer waste from recycling schemes.
One issue with the black pots and packs that we and the industry have used for many years is that they cannot be detected in recycling plants and so cannot be put in your recycling bin at present. However, over time if the industry moves towards lighter colours of plant pots (which their machines can detect) recycling centres may change their policy on this and begin accepting them.
To this end we will be trialling some lighter coloured pots in 2019, initially in small volumes as lighter pots may allow light through to the roots of plants which is not good for the plants. We hope to come up with a lighter coloured pot that can be recycled while having no impact on plant quality. We will also be trialling some new packs that can be recycled in your recycling bin.
All our picture labels can currently be recycled in consumer recycling bins.
Finally, when we exhaust our current supply of plastic bags we will be investigating the use of paper bags for use at our market stall, thus enabling them to be recycled more readily.
Plastic will continue to be used for many years to come, however, we believe using recycled plastic in our pots and trays and enabling them to be recycled after use will create a closed loop system which will ensure the highest level of responsibility when it comes to handling plastic and waste, eliminating waste to landfill and ensuring plant pots can continue to be used and reused time and again.