By Gene Kalb

It’s spring!  People are planting flowers and vegetables.  The question is, what can you do with those plastic flower pots once you plant your plants?   Or more specifically about this article, can you put them in your curbside recycling bin?

According to Recylopedia,  the answer is no.  A lot of those pots claim to be recyclable,  some even have a number 2 on them, you should be able to recycle them,  right?  Well….not in your bin.     The reasons you cannot put them in your bin are twofold.  First.  They are made of many different plastics. Flower pots seem to be on the bottom of the food chain when it comes to plastic- between the quality of the plastics and some of the dies used to color them, the purity of the plastic makes it hard to recycle.  Secondly,  the pots often have residual dirt in them.  Dirt and sorting machines do not like each other.  So please, put the flower pots in the trash or bring them to a place that will take them, do NOT put them in the bin.

I’ve reached out to some local retailers to see if they take the pots back.  Whole Foods in Bedford will take pots back.  I haven’t yet heard from New England Nurseries, Chip –In- Farm, and Stop & Shop. Both Home Depot and Lowes say they will take them back as well.

So, you can recycle them, just not in the BIN.

ICYMI: Links to earlier columns

  1. Don’t Bag Recyclables
  2. Batteries
  3. Cartons
  4. Pizza Boxes
  5. Styrofoam
  6. Plastics
  7. Recyclopedia
  8. Rigid Plastic Blister Paks
  9. Found in the Bins

Why Focus on Recycling?

Recycling is good.  It helps the environment, helps the town, and makes you feel you’re doing your part.  That being said, not all things are easy to recycle, no matter what you may think.  Putting your Styrofoam coffee cup or plastic plant pot in the bin might feel right, but is actually detrimental and costly to us in Bedford.  There are other things that fall into the category of “should” be recycled, but without understanding what happens “downstream,” your wishful thinking could end up causing more trouble.  You may not have been aware that all recycled material gets sorted, and one of the most cost-effective sorts happens at your bin. Understanding what happens after your recycling bucket has been collected can help make that downstream work easier.  Accordingly, we are embarking on a new series that hopefully will answer the “whys “ and “whats” of recycling here in Bedford.

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