As we look at how to further reduce the plastic we use, we can't help but notice how much we use in the garden.
We are growing forestry trees — high value timber species — and natives we'll use to restore an ephemeral wetland. Little trees are even taking over the vegetable beds! In fact, that's a good way to reduce the amount of plastic pots we use: grow on the trees in the ground instead.
My partner makes seed raising "flats" (boxes) out of locally milled macrocarpa from MacBlack Timber and if I store them properly they'll last us for many years. We then prick out to root trainers and once more into special one-litre pots, all plastic.
Recently I put a call out via Sustainable Whanganui's email list and Facebook page, offering to reuse root trainers and some multi-cell planting trays.
I figured lots of people had spent lockdown clearing out the shed and garage. It's a permaculture maxim that waste is a resource in the wrong place. We are willing to reuse root trainers or the thicker plastic multi-cell trays because at our scale, it's possible to sterilise them despite the hassle.
I've been hearing something about a transtasman plan by the nursery industry to close the loop on polypropylene pots: collect, clean and chip them, then remould the material into pots again.
Meanwhile, if you have unwanted nursery pots, you can drop them off so someone else can reuse them at Mitre 10's garden centre or at the WhEB (the Whanganui Environment Base, behind the recycling centre). The collection point at Springvale Garden Centre will be back in a few weeks.
And if you have a stash of root trainers or multi-cell trays like those pictured, in good condition, get in touch: I may be able to collect them.