Nurseries look for solutions to reduce plastic pots in landfill

  • Modiform Eco-Expert moulded paper pots
  • Modiform Eco-Expert moulded paper pots

With plastic waste at the top of consumers sustainability concerns, Johnsons of Whixley and Porter’s Fuchsia’s in conjunction with Modiform are pursuing separate avenues to reduce the number of plastic plant pots going into landfill.

The problem with black plant pots is that they are not recognized by recycling machinery, so millions end up in landfill sites each year.

Johnsons of Whixley trial detectable plant pot

Johnsons of Whixley is trialling a revolutionary new type of plant pot that is detectable by recycling centres, to help lead the fight against plastic waste in the industry.

Johnsons’ new cream-coloured plant pots are detectable by waste separation systems, which means they can be put back into the recycling stream.

Managing director, Graham Richardson, said: “We currently supply our landscape contractor customers with plants in standard black plastic pots and recognise that it will take a long time for that sector to adopt a new pot. But we are optimistic about the testing process and don’t currently anticipate any issues in terms of ‘growability’.

“Once we have overcome that hurdle, we will work with our customers to ensure they understand the environmental advantages of the new pots.”

Porters trial paper pots from Modiform

Modiform has been trialling moulded paper pots. A trial this year with Tesco during May delivered 8,000 moulded trays and 48,000 pots.

Porters Fuchsias have also conducted growing trials with Eco-Expert moulded paper pots from Modiform, delivering widely to garden centres.

The problem with paper pots is that although plants grow well, they encourage mould and so look unsightly. 

For Tesco the plants were grown in plastic, then transferred to paper pots before delivery to the retailer. So research is now looking into growing in reusable plastic trays and pots, for transfer to paper before delivery thus removing plastic plant pots from household waste.

Debate at the National Plant Show

Gardenforum hosted a debate at the National Plant Show on sustainability. Inevitably the topic of plastic, was of most concern. 

There seemed to be a consensus that the industry should be taking a lead. 

However, the idea of a committee to set some industry standards, along similar lines to the Growing Media Association, received little support. 

The GMA, set up by suppliers, is soon to announce a method of rating the sustainability for each type of compost, for printing on the bag. This will enable consumers to make more informed choices.

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