Grey is the new Black
Black plastic pots are a ubiquitous feature across garden centres and nurseries worldwide. Providing a convenient and cheap means of growing and transporting plants, they have been in use throughout the world for the last 100 years. Despite being cheap and convenient for the user, they are anything but for the environment.
Plastic waste continues to build up in the oceans, rivers, and lakes the world over, and is now beginning to show up in the food and drink we consume every day. In an effort to reduce the amount of waste, various industries are attempting to ‘close the loop’ producing recyclable products from recycled materials.
At Aston Norwood Nursery we aim to utilise materials and products that can achieve this goal. However, the staple of our industry, black plastic pots, have proved difficult to deal with. Until now the best solution we have found is to ask customers to return their re-used pots to the nursery, an initiative that has found mixed success and, unfortunately, does nothing to deal with broken pots.
Now, however, there is a product that can fully ‘close the loop’. Modiform battleship grey pots are made from 100% recycled materials and are 100% recyclable. Made from no.5 polypropylene (pp) plastic, they can be recycled into useful products, completely closing the loop on their production. The key difference between these and previous pots is their colour. Black pots are not detectable by the Near-Infrared (NIR) scanners used to sort different plastic materials from one another. Grey pots, however, can be seen by NIR allowing them to be sorted using conventional and common recycling technology.
The other feature of pots making them hard to recycle is that they are made of no. 5 plastic. Despite this plastic being extremely useful for a range of products including containers for liquids, liners, and furniture, number 5 plastic is not commonly collected for recycling at local recycling centres. However, Upper Hutt City Council has recently remedied this with the inclusion of number 5 plastic at the Upper Hutt Recycling Centre. Therefore, rather than having to return your pots to us (though we will still be actively re-using old pots) you can simply drop your pots to the recycling station with your other recyclable goods.
From filtering air and water to providing aesthetic pleasure, growing plants has a suite of positive impacts. However, there are also a number of negative impacts that the production of plants can have on the environment. Recent advances in pot technology and recycling services allow us to ‘close the loop’ and remove one of these negative impacts. But we're not finished yet….
As a local New Zealand family owned and operated business we are proud ensure D.I.Y is kept in our DNA as can be seen when walking through the Gardens, Nursery and Garden Center. Never ones to let a hard tasks pass us by we tackle them head on and learn as much as we can as fast as we can to try and create a positive change and encourage people to fall in love with the outdoors again.