Whether you’ve ordered a houseplant online or have treated yourself to a new tree from your local nursery, chances are that your purchase will be growing in a plastic plant pot. After all, plastic pots are cheap, lightweight, and come in a variety of different shapes, sizes, and colours, making them so convenient. However, many don’t realise that there’s a big downside to using plastic pots – once you learn more about this, you’ll hopefully start doing away with the plastic and switching to better alternatives.
The Environmental Impact of Plastic Plant Pots
We all know that plastic is bad for the environment, and plastic plant pots definitely fall under this category. However, what makes them even worse than some of the single-use plastic packaging out there is that many plastic plant pots, especially the black ones, can’t actually be recycled. Each time you throw one out, it’s more than likely going to end up in a landfill.
You may try to counter this by reusing plastic pots yourself. However, sunlight degrades plastic, meaning that they’ll only last for a few seasons before they break down and need to be thrown out.
Toxins in Plastic Plant Pots
One issue with plastic plant pots that many aren’t aware of is toxins. Some types of plastic leach chemicals into soil over time, which isn’t good news if you’re growing anything edible.
Most polypropylene pots are safe in this sense, but trying to identify the type of plastic used in a pot isn’t always easy.
Alternatives to Plastic Plant Pots
Fortunately, once you decide to make the move away from plastic, you’ll find that there are a number of options available to you.
One pot material that’s becoming increasingly popular is GRC, which stands for Glass Reinforced Concrete. It’s an innovative material that’s made from a mix of concrete and fibreglass, bringing together the advantages of each. Just like plastic, GRC pots are lightweight (they’re even lighter than terracotta equivalents) and come in so many different styles. However, unlike plastic, they’re strong, weather-proof, and long-lasting.
Unlike traditional concrete, which is infamously known for producing high carbon dioxide emissions, the GRC production process is much more environmentally-friendly, to the point where it’s classed as a sustainable material. Production can also easily be done on a small scale, meaning that you could find a company to produce custom GRC pots for your garden if you so desire!
Of course, there are plenty of more traditional materials that are sustainable too. Wood is one example, so long as the timber used to create those pots have come from a sustainable source. You’ll also need to check that any preservatives that have been used on that wood are safe for plants, especially if you’re growing edibles.
Another popular choice is terracotta. While these may look great in a garden, your plants probably won’t enjoy the way in which the material causes the soil within to dry out quickly. Freezing winter temperatures can also lead to cracking, which could damage plant roots.
Hopefully, you’re taking steps in the other areas of your life to reduce the amount of plastic that you use. Well, it’s now time to make these changes in your garden too. While plastic may be convenient, it’s not doing the environment any favours, so try making the switch to more sustainable alternatives instead.