Biggest waster's of plant dumping are big grower's that sell to Walmart & Home Depot. More plants die than survive.
I hate it when the plants I grow don't meet their fruition.
I have been a grower for the last 20 years and dumping plant material is something that I hate to do. This year my crops are smaller, several sowings and transplantings were used to stagger the maturity of the plants. When I am sold out that means there is no more of it for the rest of the season - and it looks like I will have much less to dump this year.
I used to joke that my compost has the most expensive ingredients. I hate dumping but at least try not to let it be a complete waste. I'm sure that's not happening at the big box stores where it's cheaper for them to throw it away than to pay someone to keep it alive.
At big box stores here the process leading to disposal often begins as soon as the plants come off the truck. What's worth paying for is determined by the ethos established by "corporate", other places may in fact think it worthwhile to keep stock healthy until it sells. In recent years I'm noticing a few independents here even fertilizing stock in sales yards, considering all the water and fertilizer the plants get before they are sent to retailers that seems like really a minimum requirement to me.
Starved plants establish much less readily than those in good condition, I have had multiple marginal specimens actually dwindle and die after planting out. Repeated wilting, even burning up being allowed to occur between waterings at big boxes probably does not help plants give full value either.
A lot of what goes on a plate in a restaurant goes in the trash, a lot of what goes on shelves in a grocery store gets trashed.
Be thankful that those plants being trashed are not displacing the ones that you are producing in the market place or yours would not be needed. It is the nature of perishable products.
The big loser is the producer when they don't get paid until their stock crosses the vendor's register. That's why many of the stock producers are now sending crews around to tend their stock as they sit in retail outlets. Some of the large chains will not let a department manager make any decisions as to quantity of stock acquired, either. It's done at a central location and it isn't until you end up trashing a load of it does it get fed into the system so that the central point decides maybe they won't order so much the next time.
Are you saying that nursery stock is sold by box stores on consignment?
laag - it's called "pay by scan", and yes, that is the way most of the big box stores operate now.
Funny that I ran into this thread. I'm about to quit a job working for the co. that supplies the plants to Home Depot mostly because of this issue. The problem, here at least, as far as I can tell is that the people who are in charge of supplying/maintaining the plants don't know anything about plants and frankly just don't care. They oversupply, the HD people don't water them and then they get dumped. Other issues arise as well, the last straw was a fight between two different suppliers that resulted in my being told to dump about 30 perfectly healthy 2g roses. Now I'm trying to figure out how to charge to plant out, re-claim and maintain private gardens. That way I can actually take care of the plants, rather than just cramming them in a limited space, watching them die and then throwing them out. I haven't worked for "corporate America" in years, and frankly I was disgusted by the waste I witnessed (HD as well, you wouldn't believe what they throw away).
I know our Lowe's buy's plants out right. I wait til they move to the 50% off rack, take home and nurse back to health.
I have gotten many a Orchid that way, $5
Here Lowe's is where workers wearing vests with "Vendor" on the back have been most visible in the past. That includes potted tropical plants.
It is now common practice for larger growers to place merchandisers in big box stores to care for the plants. Much is thrown away and many merchandisers know nothing about plants.
I really need to add to this.I worked as a vendor for 3 yrs at HD for the company that merchandised all the live good in the northeast.The plants"annuals and perennials" supplied to home depot are there for only 1 reason and that was to draw people in to by home depot products not the plants.
HD could care less about the plants.They only cared about if they looked good.My worst day was i had a delivery of 14 racks with a full garden center and i tossed 14 racks to make room for the new delivery.I also would toss a percentage of a new delivery because older product was in better condition.
We helped water until this past spring when we were told if we got caught watering we would lose our job. AT that point HD hired a water person but they would be told to take care of the customers and if they had time water but that didn't work. we were told to put shade plants in the sun and sun in the shade.2 days in sun then off to the dumpster.2 weeks in shade and off to dumpster.
HD would run sprinklers sporadically and would run for 10 hrs at a time "overnight".After a couple days of that stuff would start to rot and off to the dumpster.
Shrubs supplied were always in good condition except for a couple things here and there but after a week of no water and the way they were packed out onto tables..off to the dumpster.
Rarely were live goods discounted.Same thing goes for tropicals.
what eventually will happen is the consumer will get tired of these cheep but dying plants, and the big boxes will eith stop selling plants, or the more likely scenario. They will come out with slogans like "now 100% plant friendly" "Healthy plants guarinteed". they will only change when they are forced to by the consumer. There is very little margin for the little guy to get his fair share, and the credit he (or she) diserves. I managed a garden center. Before i became manager, we were filling the dumpster with annuals every 2-3weeks. In our 130ft greenhouse my only helper and I implemented a 0% loss policy, and from that point on, we threw out less than 1% annually of all live product. which means we sold 99% (at full price) It was a little extra work, and we got no help from the owners, but it was worth it. The customers loved how healthy our plants looked. We were a small farm market in a suburb-rural area. Everyone was telling us that our stuff looked healthier than the fancy plant stores in the city. There are ways to keep plants healthy, cut costs and increase sales all at the same time. as an added benifit, your business devlops a good image. I wish i could have continued to work there, but I could not devlop the business any furthur without help from upper management (funds and resources), which they were not willing to give. sory for the long story, but it's a subject close to home, I miss my friends at that business, which i left less than 2 weeks ago.
--If God gave me one gift, it was the ability to rescue plants from certain death.
>I wish i could have continued to work there, but I could not devlop the business any furthur without help from upper management (funds and resources), which they were not willing to giveSo often the story, so often the story. HD etc. are run the way they are because somebody thinks that's the thing to do, not because "the market" forces this approach upon them.
I dumped about 400 vegetable plants this last spring because they were unsaleable (had been held too long) and it was past the planting season. This year I'm looking for places to donate them or something good I can do with them if it happens again. Despite some of their appearances, they all would have looked good and thrived if I had bumped them to gallons two weeks before they were finally dumped. Unfortunately, that was too expensive (pots, soil, and time) for a product I would have had to donate at that point.
It was the third year I had to dump plants, but by far the most I've tossed (to be fair, my growout was much larger as well, and the weather was terrible).
I donate all my unsold veg plants to the local food banks. Been doing it for a couple of years now.
What do the food banks do with the plants? Do they have a place to continue to raise them until they are ready to eat?
I am a marine mechanic with a degree in business. The owner of the shop where I work also owns an agway store. He has one saying "do the math". His seedlings are all out dated seed planted in broken bags of potting soil. (put 3 seeds in each pod of a 6 pack, pluck if they all come) June first cut price 50% june 15 th throw out start next rotation. we have a HD a wally w,and a Low within shooting distance and he is still doing well.I think the difference in plant quality is his throw out policy. It is throw it first into any employ's pickup that wants it before dumpster. It is amasing how people take care of plants that might become theirs. Most of us bring in extra produce and put it by the check out as free for the taking he will only let us label it as dead agway " peach squash ect" employ's compeat for just bragging rights I had the biggest apple at 8 1/4 wolf river. (yes it was dry and tasteless) I might make more money at a chain but I can't see me calling a ceo and saying my house sunday dead agway cook out.