Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pensive Tuesday: Taking Out the Trash

This is a tiny section of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Yuck. I've read that some company is trying to form an island out of part of it, since it's the size of several Texases, but I don't see anyone roasting s'mores on this mess anytime soon....

Sadly, I was a contributor to the Patch yesterday, or to some mess like it.  I was cleaning up the garage and without thinking (the big problem), I threw out several plastic plant pots that I no longer needed. I keep most of them, but these were cracked. So out they went.

Plant pots can be hard to recycle because they are made of plastics that are not so easy to melt down and reuse. Most are labeled PP, meaning they are polypropylene. One tough plastic, but it's slowly gaining acceptance at recycling plants. So I've started to put them in our recycling bin, hoping they'll know what to do with them at the plant.

I realized that I could easily gather up these pots and donate them to schools, nursing homes, and community gardens. Most last for years, and, though eventually they'll end up cracked and useless, they can be reused many times until that point.

Also, I've seen some of the larger nurseries, like Bonnie Plants, start using biodegradable, compostable plant pots. I've bought many herbs from Bonnie and the pots really work. I can simply replant the herb, pot and all, in the garden, or peel off the pot and throw that in the garden, or trash (plants with more tender roots can have trouble growing through the pot into the soil). So progress is definitely being made. After all, gardeners should be mindful of their trash, and I won't be throwing plastic pots away anytime soon....


  1. I would be less than excited to see that drifting in front of our house! Juck, indeed. As you say, even here, things are changing, so hopefully it speed up!

  2. Yes, isn't that a gross sight? Most people haven't been aware of it until lately, because it's out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. But more people are going there to document it, so I think we're all becoming aware of how much plastic trash there really is these days! And it's good to see companies and people changing for the better, isn't it?

    1. Yes, hopefully for real and not for show as is the case with many of these things. But lets hope. As you see I am sometimes a little negative with some things, maybe it is just the current environment.

    2. Thanks for calling attention to all of the garbage in the ocean! It is indeed gross.

      I think I'm also a little negative and cynical about these things. We have recycling bins, and everyone fills them up, but I'm skeptical about what happens to the stuff once it's picked up given that it's all tossed in the same bin - paper, plastic, metal, you name it. Also, I don't see people using less plastic overall. Some of the local governments have banned plastic grocery bags (for show), but people continue to buy little plastic bottles of water, soft drinks, and other stuff in heavy-duty throwaway containers.

      Part of the problem is that a large portion of the world's economy is based on manufacture of throwaway plastic items, so in order for real change to occur there would have to be a switch to other forms of manufacturing. In the end, the problem comes down to too many people consuming too much.

  3. It's hard not to feel negative, I do all the time. It just seems like so much trash and we're not really being that innovative, at least on the scale we need to be in order to cope with the immense amount of trash! I do get happy about the bright spots and make a point of complimenting the company or individual who's doing something positive. But Doc Elly is right, as long as we live in the Disposable Economy Paradigm on a very crowded planet, we've got problems much bigger than we can handle.

  4. I try my best to recycle when I can, but sometimes it gets difficult. Being always aware and seriously sticking to it is the key I think. I don't know why we don't produce/use biodegradable plastic/plastic bags more, it would definitely help with the problem. I found this blog about using recycled materials like plastic bottles etc, to make pots (http://containergardening.wordpress.com). Not as nice looking as commercial pots, but I think it looks kinda cool, I will try this.

  5. In Germany, we had 4 different types of recycling, but once I got used to it, it worked pretty well. Still, a lot of us got discouraged when the bottom fell out of the plastics recycling market, and the TV news showed all our carefully divvied up recyclables simply being thrown into the landfill! Ditto with paper, apparently. But we have to keep trying.