Lebanon: Recycling drive helps dispose of plant containers

While gardening makes life a little greener, it’s not always the greenest hobby. Plastic plant pots — the black plastic type used with plants sold at most gardening centers — can be tough to recycle. But it’s a little easier when you know where to look.

Residents will be able to recycle their plastic pots at Gardener’s Supply in Lebanon during collection drives on Aug. 28 and Oct. 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Home Depot also offers an option for these hard-to-recycle plastics at its store in West Lebanon.

“We now have more of a local opportunity for people to recycle,” said Cindy Heath, an Upper Valley landscaper who helped organize the drive. “I work in the landscape industry, so I generate a lot of plastic pots from the garden work I do from designing and installing plants all summer long.” She said she used to drive to Deerfield, N.H., to recycle her plastic pots.

Black flower pots in particular can be difficult for recycling facilities to process. Shannon Choquette, the outreach coordinator with the Northeast Kingdom Waste Management District, told the Valley News earlier this month that they absorb pesticides and other chemicals that can corrupt the recycling stream. Normally, they head to a landfill.
Gardeners will be able to drop off No. 2, No. 5 and No. 6 plastic pots of any color. Pots collected at the drive, or at the ongoing recycling site at Home Depot, go back to Michigan-based East Jordan Plastics, one of the largest manufacturers of plastic pots in the country.

Nathan Diller, who manages recycling at East Jordan Plastics, said the company worked with European manufacturers to design its recycling process leading up to its launch in 2009. The program began small, but now East Jordan recycles over 20 million pounds of horticultural containers a year.

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