No Plastic Plant Pot Recycling for 2022
Missouri Botanical Garden has been tracking and supporting plastic pot recycling issues and options for many years. We have reported since spring 2020 that the recycling collection program our region had known was suspended due to recycling business market challenges and other issues.
This spring, we regret to report that the program is not resuming. The kinds of plastic used to manufacture garden containers continue to have a negative value in the recycling industry. The company that took over pot recycling from the Garden in 2017 has been trying all market options, drawing on expertise of their 60+ years in the recycling business. When there are no markets for a material, collection of material(s) stops making sense.
We appreciate all the effort that has gone into plastic pot recycling, from home gardeners and leaders of our locally owned garden centers that have hosted collection trailers. Organizations like garden clubs MAY be able to accept plastic pots at some times of the year. We advise individuals wanting to donate plastic pots to search for community groups who might want the materials on apps like NextDoor, Craigslist, and Facebook groups. Please confirm that any group can use the kinds of pots you have, before delivering them.
Always dispose of garden plastic containers—pots, trays, cell-packs—in your landfill trash. These kinds of items will be a contaminant in your household or single stream recycling bins, endangering the viability of that collection system! If an item is not on the list of accepted materials for your community's recycling program, it should not go into your recycling bin.
Visit RecycleResponsibly.org for more details.
The Garden's sustainability team continues to monitor plastic recycling issues, specific to plant pots and about plastic pollution in general. We will work, through diverse networks and partnerships, toward sustainable solutions.
Thanks for your understanding—and for all the green things you are able to do!