Gardening without plastic

A watering can and a pitchfork made of metal
A watering can and a pitchfork made of metal

Gardening without plastic is not so easy. When you think about it, a shocking number of materials used in planting, landscaping or gardening are plastic. From upcycling to reuse options: Her are a few tips on how to avoid, reduce or cleverly use plastic when gardening.

Plants are usually sold in plastic pots. According to estimates, a good 500 million plastic flower pots, planters and sowing pots go over the counter every year. The peak is in late spring at the beginning of the garden and balcony season. Most of them are disposable products that subsequently end up in the garbage can. This not only represents a huge waste of natural resources, but is also becoming a seriously increasing waste problem. After all, plastic planters do not decompose and most of them cannot be recycled.

Buy less plastic

More and more garden centers and home improvement stores now offer biodegradable or compostable planters. These are made from natural raw materials such as coconut fiber, wood waste or renewable plant parts such as leaves. Some of them last only a few months before decaying and can be placed directly in the ground with the plants. Others can be used for several years before disposing of them in the compost. Make sure you know this when you buy them. But beware: just because some products are biodegradable doesn’t mean they are organic, and they may well be petroleum-based.

Furthermore, more and more garden centers are encouraging their customers to return the plastic pots in which the plants are sold. In this way, they can be reused and in some cases recycled. In smaller nurseries, it is also possible to unpack purchased plants on site and transport them home in containers, newspaper or plastic bags that you have brought yourself. At weekly markets, you can also often buy young plants of kohlrabi, lettuce and co. without pots at all.

Garden tools without plastic content are not only much more environmentally friendly, but also of higher quality, more robust and, with proper care, will last for many years. So in this case, go for quality and instead of a model with plastic handles, for example, opt for one with metal or wood.

Use plastic several times

Many garden tools and garden materials are made entirely or partially of plastic, including compost bins, planters and sowing pots, planters and even garden tools. So if buying plastic can’t be avoided, go for slightly higher quality products that will last for several years with proper care. Plastic pots, grow pots or multi-pots in particular can be easily reused; so don’t throw them away right away. Some are suitable as planters and can disappear behind a pretty planter, others can be used anew each spring for sowing. For this, however, you should clean them well before reuse. They are also ideal for transport or to give plants to friends and neighbors and can be used for a long time.

Upcycling instead of throwing away

Empty yogurt pots or plastic bottles accumulate almost daily in normal household waste. These can be easily upcycled and used as planters when gardening. Plastic bottles can be turned into planters or into beautifully shaped vases with little effort. Simply cut them into the desired size, decorate them, and the new planter is ready. Plastic yogurt pots are ideal for growing plants in simply because of their size. In addition to a thorough cleaning, you only need to drill drain holes in them.

Although plastic bags are no longer given away free with every purchase, but cost money, most of us still have more of them at home than we would like. Perfect! Because with plastic bags you can conveniently transport plants and at the same time avoid dirt and soil crumbs in the car. Furthermore, plastic bags can be used to make clever plant bags that can be placed on the balcony, terrace or in the garden. Here, too, do not forget to make drainage holes.

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