During the 2020-2021 coronavirus lockdown, gardening became a popular activity in the UK. It was found that gardening became the second most popular hobby over lockdown, this may be due to its positive effect on people's mental health and generally spending more time at home.
Gardening helps us feel at one with nature and can even help reduce stress. Despite having calming properties, there is a downside to gardening which is the amount of plastic waste it produces. In the UK, it is estimated that there are 500 million plastic pots and trays in circulation and only one third of rigid plastic is ever recycled.
When gardening, it is important to remember to reuse pots and trays where possible, reduce the amount of plastic being bought and ensure the plastic is made from recycled materials or can be recycled after use! What sustainable options do avid gardeners have to reduce their plastic footprint?
Sustainable plastic alternatives
Cardboard egg cartons are a great place to start planting seedlings instead of plastic trays. Here at Aquapax, we also used of of our water cartons as a pot for planting basil! Click here to read the blog on how we did it.
As an alternative to plastic seed trays that are difficult to fix once broken and hard to recycle, consider using wooden seed trays. They are easy to fix and even easy to make using scrap wood at home. Wooden seed trays will need more watering because the wood is absorbent however, it let the water run straight through unlike plastic.
Instead of using plastic plant labels that break easily and are difficult to recycle, why not try up-cycling wooden lollipop sticks or coffee stirrers? They are widely available and you can even make your own using wood. As wood is absorbent, you have have to re-label they plants on a regular basis.
Swap out plastic pots for sustainable alternatives such as terracotta, coir, fibre, Vipots, bamboo and waste cardboard. Although all have some downsides, overall these alternatives are better eco-friendly options to single-use plastic pots that once broken are difficult to fix.
Reuse your compost bags as rubbish bags for waste however, they can only be recycled if they are cleaned first. To avoid this plastic waste completely, you could even make your own potting compost.
Next time you head outside to do some gardening, consider these sustainable alternatives to make your hobby a little more eco-friendly.