How to Recycle Plastic Plant Pots

Celebrating Mother’s Day can include gifts or a nice brunch, but it’s most often celebrated with fresh, spring flowers. This past weekend is one of the busiest times of year for the purchase of potted plants and hopefully those plants will last for years to come. The plastic plant pots your new blooms arrive in, however, might have a shorter stay in your home.

When the time does come to dispose of those plant pots, you can easily recycle them in your blue bin with plastic, metal, and carton containers (including paper coffee cups). To prepare your plastic plant pots for recycling and prevent contamination, remove loose soil. Even after emptying the pot, there will still be some loose soil stuck around the pot. After emptying it, shake the pot upside down and gently tap it to help the soil come out. Rinse the inside of the pot with a hose if needed to help clean away the residual soil.

Plastic plant pots and trays         Grid of plastic plant pots

Those steps are simple for plastic plant post but what about pots that aren’t accepted by Recycle BC? Ceramic, terra cotta and cement plant pots are not accepted in your Blue Box. If possible, you can reuse for new plants. Be sure to clean your pots well to reduce the risk of transferring some plant diseases from one plant to another.

Here’s a few other options for plant pots that are not accepted by Recycle BC:

  1. Give them away. Maybe you don’t need the pot for a new plant – but you might know someone who does. Share your empty planter pots with a friend or neighbour who can use them, or even a local community garden. Another option is to ask the nursery where your first purchased the plant to see if they have a re-use program for pots and vases.
  2. Repurpose those old pots. Old plant pots can be used for a whole variety of items that aren’t plant related, like for storing toiletries (like soaps, wash cloths, cotton swabs – just to name a few) or entertaining or cooking supplies. The only limit is your imagination!
  3. Use those broken pot pieces. But what if your ceramic pot has broken? Is there any way to use those pieces other than throwing them in the garbage for disposal? While there are many possibilities, here are a few ideas to get you started: using as a decorative feature around other pots and plants, placing small pieces in other plants as a protective and decorative mulch to keep in moisture; creating a miniature garden for children and/or to express some creativity; using as a protective ‘collar’ around a seedling or young tree; labelling herbs planted in your garden. Please note that these shards can be quite sharp and should be handled with care.