During Recycle Week (23-29 September) the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) calls for more local authorities to collect non-black recyclable plant pots from the kerbside. HTA research has found that the recycling of plant pots could result in an estimated 8,000 tonnes being diverted from landfill and recycled back into pots.
Speaking at the RECOUP Plastics Recycling and Resources Conference in Peterborough on 26 September James Clark, HTA Director of Policy and Communications, highlighted how the UK horticulture industry has come together to move to using non-black polypropylene kerbside recyclable plant pots. Working with RECOUP the HTA has completed a Recyclability by Design framework document providing technical assurance to recyclers that these new pots meet the necessary criteria for recycling in kerbside collections.
There is a huge opportunity to recycle more plant pots with clear demand for polypropylene from UK re-processors. If all kerbside compliant pots sold each year were collected this could divert an estimated 8,000 tonnes of quality polypropylene away from landfill and energy from waste and back into the recycling stream to be made into more pots. With a total of 23,000 tonnes of polypropylene recycled in the UK in 2016 (WRAP) the recycling of plant pots is set to contribute a significant proportion. A number of local authorities already collect recyclable plant pots highlighting that it is possible - especially given that they are made from a valuable material with an end market.
James Clark comments, “Gardeners are environmentally conscious, concerned about using materials sustainably and expect the garden industry to do the right thing. The industry has made huge developments over the past year in introducing non-black kerbside recyclable plant pots. We will be stepping up our campaign activity and want to work with the waste and recycling industry to progress this initiative. There is no better time to do so given that the evidence is clear that non-black plant pots are recyclable, particularly with the launch of the Recyclability by Design document.”
The RECOUP Conference attracts over 500 delegates comprising stakeholders, NGO’s, Local and National Government and companies with business interests within plastics recycling to network and share best practice. The conference was chaired by Tom Heap, BBC Countryfile and BBC Radio 4 'Costing the Earth'.
James Clark took part in a session titled ‘The growing issue of farm and horticultural plastics’, which also involved representatives from Berry BPI Group, The Co-op, IFFPG/EPRO Agriculture Working Group and the Environment Agency.