Recycling efforts sprout up

As gardeners and weekend warriors, we do so much to beautify our lawns and landscapes. But in the process of planting, pruning and ongoing maintenance, we generate a great deal of waste. Sadly, much of that ends up in the landfill. Of the total landfill volume, estimates list the percentage of compostable waste from yard debris at about 12 percent. When you think about the size of most landfills around the country, that’s a lot of material that simply doesn’t need to be there.

Another contribution we gardeners make to this mountain of waste is the millions of plastic pots we discard each year, from seedling six-packs to the giant black buckets used for growing trees and every size in between.

Unfortunately, options for what we do with them once they’re empty are much more limited. Unlike yard debris, plastic pots are not compostable and most aren’t easily recycled. So even the best-intentioned, environmentally conscious steward has few options when it comes to responsible disposal.

When I moved about two years ago, I had amassed literally thousands of pots that I thought I’d use someday for a small nursery. But when it came time to pack, space was at a premium and the pots had to go. Unable to find a willing taker to reuse them personally and without a source that would accept them all for recycling, I ended up taking many of them to the landfill. I still remember tossing stacks of pots onto the rapidly growing pile of waste destined for the landfill. I felt sick.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, of the nearly 27 million tons of plastic generated in the United States in 2003, only 3.9 million tons was recycled — and very little of that was garden-related. Unfortunately, gardeners are in for a long wait before processing facilities accept horticultural plastic. Most municipalities lack the resources to manually separate pots that can be recycled from those that can’t. Manufacturers, growers and nurseries have yet to seriously consider a uniform standard for recyclable containers.

Yet, positive things are happening. In 2007, the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Plastic Pot Recycling program successfully recycled more than 100,000 pounds of horticultural plastic originally destined for landfills. With the cooperation of seven local garden-center drop-off sites, this year it has set a goal of collecting and recycling a record 150,000 pounds of plastic.

The “MOBOT” recycling program was started in 1997, thanks to a plethora of pots piling up in the garage of Steve Cline. He’s the program’s founder and manager of the William T. Kemper Center for Home Gardening at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Since then, the program has prevented more than 300 tons of horticultural waste from going into landfills. The garden’s successful program in St. Louis is the most extensive public garden-recycling program in the United States. Recently, it received the American Public Gardens Association’s award for program excellence, recognizing its innovative and pioneering spirit.

There is an effort by a group in the nursery-and-landscape industry to standardize the sizes of horticultural containers in an attempt to simplify the recycling process. A group will soon go before the American Nursery and Landscape Association Senate to start the ball rolling on this campaign.

Although I applaud their efforts, standard sizes will have little effect on the bigger problem. I believe the answer is to standardize the materials used to make the containers, so they’re all recyclable — no matter what the size. It will take cooperation from many sides. The nursery-and-landscape industry and we as home gardeners and weekend warriors do great things to beautify the environment, but we need a way to eliminate the impact left behind in doing so.

What do you think? If you’d like to share your thoughts on this, please send me an e-mail at heyjoe@joegardener.com.

Editor’s note: Star Nursery supplements Silver State Disposal’s recycling efforts with its “Plants for Plastic Program.” This program gives purchase credits for the return of empty 1-, 5- and 15-gallon black plastic plant containers. It returns them to commercial plant growers and keeps them out of landfills, which has saved more than 800,000 cubic feet of space.

Joe Lamp’l, host of “Fresh From the Garden” on the DIY Network and “GardenSMART” on PBS, is a master gardener and author. For more information, visit www.joegardener.com and www.DIYnetwork.com.

ad-high_impact_4
Life
Barber sets up shop in grandfather’s old shop
Andres Dominguez’s new barber shop is filled with memories of his grandfather, who ran the El Cortez landmark for more than 30 years. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Life and times of a 90-year-old horse player
Leo Polito of Las Vegas describes meeting legendary jockey and trainer Johnny Longden on the beach at Del Mar. Mike Brunker/Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Learning the history of singing bowls
Presentation at Summerlin Library teaches residents about the history of singing bowls (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learning live-saving techniques in Stop the Bleed class
Leslie Shaffer, an AMR paramedic, shows how to control bleeding during a Stop the Bleed course at the Summerlin Library. The class is designed to teach anyone how to control and stop life-threatening bleeding. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vicki Richardson speaks about on the power of art
Artist and arts advocate Vicki Richardson talks about the power of art to inspire and challenge. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DressCoders pairs tech with haute couture
DressCoders is a startup focused on haute couture garments. The company uses illuminated thread that is washable and can be sewn right into the fabric. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Brava infrared oven
In cooking with the Brava infrared oven,there’s no preheating. the bulbs can reach 500 degrees in less than a second. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sinks Merge Style And Utility
Study could determine cause of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s diseases
Dr. Aaron Ritter, director of clinical trials at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, discusses his research on how inflammation in the brain impacts Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holocaust survivors talk about tragedy and friendship
Janos Strauss and Alexander Kuechel share their perspectives on life. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'Siegel Cares' Santa delivers toys to kids at Siegel Suites in Las Vegas
Siegel Cares, the charitable wing of The Siegel Group, delivered toys to families at their apartment complexes in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Revisiting “Christ the King” sculpture
A longtime admirer of the sculpture at Christ the King Catholic Community in Las Vegas shares her perspective. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye)
Henderson couple adds another school to their generosity
Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, who donate to several Clark County School District schools, have added Matt Kelly Elementary in Las Vegas to their list of schools where every student gets new shoes, socks and a toy. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Terry Fator Christmas House
Arguably better than a hotel holiday display, is Terry and Angie Fator's home located in southwest Las Vegas.
UNLV Winter Graduation Packs Thomas & Mack
UNLV's 55th winter commencement ceremony included approximately 2,146 undergraduate and graduate students who recently completed their studies. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Build-A-Bear comes to Reed Elementary School
Students participated in a Build-A-Bear-Workshop at Doris Reed Elementary School in Las Vegas, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018.
Rev. Father Seraphim Ramos talks about Greek Orthodox icons during an interview with the LVRJ
Rev. Father Seraphim Ramos talks about Greek Orthodox icons during an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center art depicts names of God
Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center founder Sharaf Haseebullah talks about new diamond-shaped art panels featuring some of the 99 names of Allah at the main entrance the Las Vegas mosque. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holiday poultry with Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine
Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine explain the different types of poultry available for the holidays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Catholic Charities hosts early Christmas meal
Students from the Bishop Gorman High School football and cheerleader team helped to serve food at the Christmas meal sponsored by the Frank and Victoria Fertitta Foundation at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada on Sunday. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Incarcerated Christmas
This is the fourth year HOPE for Prisoners has worked with the Nevada Department of Corrections to create a Christmas for prisoners to visit their families. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
2018 Homeless Vigil
Straight From The Streets holds its 23rd annual vigil to remember the 179 homeless individuals who died in Clark County this year.
Getting through the Holiday blues
Psychologist Whitney Owens offers advice on keeping your mental health in check during the Holiday season in Henderson, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military program gave meal kits to 200 families at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10047 in Las Vegas Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. It all started with a chance encounter in a supermarket in Utica, N.Y., near Fort Drum. A soldier, his wife and infant had a handful of grocery items they couldn't afford. A Beam Suntory employee picked up the $12 cost for the groceries. The program has grown from providing 500 meal kits to military families in 2009 to providing more than 7,000 nationally this holiday season.K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women at WestCare Women Children Campus in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Former 51s manager Wally Backman chats about new job
Former Las Vegas 51s manager Wally Backman talks about his new job with the independent league Long Island Ducks during the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 10, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Roy Choi on cooking for Park MGM employees
As he prepares to open his new restaurant Best Friend later this month at Park MGM, celebrity chef Roy Choi took the time to cook for the resort’s employees Tuesday. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like