Recycling of Plastic Pots

clfo(z7 with luck)January 17, 2006

I am looking for a company that recycles plastic nursery pots. Do any of you know of such a business in the east, especially one that will pick up a semi-load of pots? Are there any such businesses in Massachusetts?

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There are probably growers in your area that would take the pots from you and offer you compensation (depending on the condition of the pots, sizes, etc.). I would call local greenhouse operations and find out if they could pick them up from you or perhaps you could deliver them if they agreed to pay you for them?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 2:09AM
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suzieh(z9 Altadena CA)

I stumbled on this post. But if you are in area with active freecycle or craigslist...there are plenty of gardeners always looking for free pots, flats, etc.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 2:46AM
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clfo(z7 with luck)

Thanks, but I'm not looking to reuse - we're talking thousands of pots, in a variety of sizes. I am looking for a business that recycles the plastic. If anyone knows of such a business please contact me.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 8:55AM
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DonFenwick(4b Ont Canada)

All the new pots we get from ITML have "made with recycled plastic' on the boxes. If you call them, they can probably direct you to a recycler if they don't use them themselves.

Here is a link that might be useful: ITML Plastics

    Bookmark   January 23, 2006 at 12:20AM
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It isn't an easy, is it? Same goes for old greenhouse film. I know companies do exist to recycle them, as I have had literature from some who offer recycled nursery pans for sale. I used to offer to accept recycled pots and flats from my customers simply because it was the right thing to do to keep them from being thrown into landfills.

It took a lot of extra time and effort to sort them, clean and sanitise them and find homes for those I couldn't re-use. Unfortunately, I had to quit doing this because a few people spoil it for everyone. My drive ended up becoming a public dump for people who would whiz in after hours and just unload everything vaguely resembling a garden container in piles for me to clean up so I could get a truck around them. They were filthy, sometimes were still filled with rock-hard soil and often waste paper. I had very specific guidelines as to what I would accept, and of course, it was ignored.

I'm sorry I can't help with names, but I know they do exist for large quantity operations. We certainly need more facilities to accomodate this type of renewable resource.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2006 at 5:02PM
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A few years ago I was told, by the people at one of the transfer stations here on the Cape, that they would throw away much of the recycling materials. The volume of recycling material was far greater than the ability of the recycling plants to process it. They told me that they wanted to keep the public in the habit of recycling so that if they would be ready when there was places that could process it.

I was disappointed to learn that I had been living with the false good feeling that my efforts to separate and deliver these items to their areas in the transfer station along with most everyone else resulted in a better world was largely a farse.

Hopefully, there are many more plants to process this stuff. But watching 3 dump workers spend their day tending to the recycle area, people walking through no less than 8 container areas each week to separate their stuff, and dealing with criss-crossing cars in the area seemed like a wasted effort when I watched the container of milk jugs get emptied into the general refuse early in the morning before the place opened. That is when they explained to me that they could only find a home for some of the materials some of the time. It was very disappointing.

I live in a different community now. I find it interesting that here we do not have to separate light cardboard from other trash. All cans, bottles, and plastic containers go into one container. I would love to know how they recycle that "co-mingled" material.

I guess what I am saying is that there is not a lot of opportunities to find anyone eager to accept material to recycle because they have access to more of it than they know what to do with.

The best bet for recycling plant pots is to get them to someone who can use them as plant pots. But, the expense of washing process, storage, and handling might outweigh their value.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2006 at 6:49AM
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Right on the money.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2006 at 10:02AM
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IF the pots are useable, you might call your local Master Gardeners group. Ours has a plant sale every May and the MGs are always scrambling for pots for the plants they will put in the sale.

Do you have a university nearby with a horticulture dept? They could probably use a bunch too if you can't find any other way to dispose of them.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2006 at 4:58PM
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splant1012(z6 NJ)

You may want to ask your town. I leave all my pots out for the recyling day and they take them. And, I have had over a hundred a few times. My county also has a recyling center that you can bring them.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2006 at 8:46AM
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I don't believe that the town where clfo lives has curb side trash & recycle pick up. And the transfer station will charge commercial rates for that amount of material. It is a problem.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2006 at 2:03PM
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chervil2(z5 MA)

I went on a tour of a recycling facility a few months ago in Boston that sorts comingled recyclables. The process is very interesting and I learned alot about the current state of recycling. Markets for recyclables are variable. Many of the recylables in the US are shipped overseas such as China where it is cheaper to sort the comingles. Also there is a huge demand for some recyclable commodities in developing nations. I was suprised to learn that plastics are far more valuable compared to glass for recycling. Many glass containors are crushed by recycling plants and returned to landfills for capping purposes. I think that someone which a large amount of recyclable plastic could get a truck to pick this up. I would contact your local officials.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2006 at 1:24PM
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clfo(z7 with luck)

Thanks for your thoughts, everyone. Just for anyone else who reads this thread, I am not looking for a place to recycle my own pots, nor am I interested in finding people to reuse the pots.

I am interested in organizing my entire area, along with landscapers and garden centers, in an effort to recycle plastic pots. The first step in this project is to find a place that will take them. Most pots are #5 or #6 plastic, which is not recycled by our towns. I posted here in hopes of finding someone in Massachusetts who takes this plastic so that we can stop the huge volumns our industry adds to the waste stream.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2006 at 4:26PM
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annebert(6b/7a MD)

Good for you! I did a Google search and came up with this company. They're in Massachusetts. I buy their toothbruch brand because they take the used tooth brushes back and recycle the plastic. They have a partnership with Stoneyfield to recycle yogurt cartons. I think much of it goes into plastic lumber.

Let us know if it works out.

Here is a link that might be useful: Recycline

    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 1:55PM
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