How Green is Your Garden?

Plastic_plant_pots

The irony of gardening is sometimes it’s really not that green. There’s the pesticides, the weedkillers, the endless watering, the invasive species… and don’t get us started on the power tools. But, if there’s one thing the green-fingered amongst us can all get behind, it’s the overuse of plastic plant pots. There are millions of these lurking behind garden sheds, destined for landfill or the incinerator once we have that big clear-out at the weekend.

The trouble with plant pots is they are made from polypropylene. In the past, this has been difficult to recycle because it melts at a different temperature to other plastics. Local authorities opted to recycle other types of plastic as they were more common and so polypropylene fell by the kerbside. This is no longer the case, however, old habits die hard and many consumers are unaware that sorting technology has become more widespread and economical and so most local authorities are now able to recycle it. So, unless told otherwise, put plant pots in the recycling.

If, indeed, you are told otherwise then you can find somewhere else to recycle them on Recycle Now. On this site, you can select a specific piece of waste (click Recycle a specific item and check plant pots under plastic packaging), enter your postcode and, boom, there’s an address where you can take them. Obviously, it defeats the object in carbon terms to make a special journey to the tip but, if you’re passing, like.

You may be lucky and have a garden centre near you that will take your old plant pots. They will bundle them up and have old pots taken to a recycling site on your behalf. But don’t think they are going back into the supply chain as plant pots, they are likely going to be crushed and recycled rather than reused.

Of course, the better solution is to buy plants that don’t come in plastic pots. The Hairy Pot Plant Company, based at Kirton Farm Nurseries, sells its plants in coir pots with peat-free compost and supplies nurseries and garden centres across the UK.

 

 

Caffeine Hit by 5p Charge

starbucks_5p_charge

As many people now know, most single-use cups have a plastic liner to waterproof them that renders the entire vessel pretty much un-recyclable. To reduce the use of such cups, Starbucks is running a trial in 25 London stores to add a 5p charge to customers using them. Given 98.2% of customers use such cups, this is basically everyone.

Interestingly, Starbucks has previously tried lowering the price for customers bringing in their own cups by 10p, 25p and 50p over the years but none has managed to deter single-use cups. It will be an illuminating psychological experiment to see if upping the price for use rather than lowering the price for non-use will have a greater effect. It’s worked for 5p plastic bags so why not coffee cups?

Still, we can’t ignore the fact that carrying around a coffee cup is going to be a pain in the Louis Vuitton. You’ll need to remember it in the first place, it’s bulky and who wants cold coffee sloshing around their handbag? We’re looking out for something small, clean and collapsible, and we’ll keep you posted here when we find it.

In the same way drink-driving has become verboten, perhaps we will soon see the day when walking down the street with a flat white in a paper cup will similarly render culprits pariahs.

Update:

As promised, here are a couple of reusable coffee cup options that are available on the High Street or online.

Silicone cup from Big Daddy

Stojo cup from Robert Dyas

Pokito cup from Pokito