The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) is calling for action to be taken by local authorities to collect recyclable plant pots in their kerbside collections.
The HTA is urging member businesses to contact their local council to strongly encourage them to commit to collecting and recycling non-black plant pots. As well as providing members with a template letter, the HTA will write to the Local Government Association, the national membership body for local authorities, highlighting the issue and stressing the need for consistency on collection.
This follows the recent publication by recycling charity RECOUP of their 2019 ‘Household Plastics Collections Survey’ which shows that 10% of councils state that they collect plant pots as part of their household kerbside collections. This amounts to 40 councils; demonstrating an increase on previous estimates.
RECOUP’s ‘Plastic Packaging in Horticulture - Recyclability By Design’ report provides the technical assurance that recyclable pots are fully recyclable by local authorities. This document outlines that there is a clear demand among plastic reprocessors for non-black polypropylene, which the recyclable pots are made from and any concerns over pot contamination should not present any issues if the pots are emptied by the consumer. There is an increasing desire amongst consumers, especially gardeners, to ‘do the right thing’ and they are looking to their local councils to help them achieve this.
HTA director of Policy and Communications James Clark commented: “While it is encouraging to see the number of local authorities collecting recyclable plant pots from the kerbside has increased, there is clearly more work to be done. There is no reason why all local councils could not collect recyclable pots and we are calling on HTA member businesses to contact their local councillors to highlight the issue and ask them to act now. This is part of our wider strategy to engage with local authorities and waste management companies to close the loop ensuring that an estimated 8,000 tonnes of pots are recycled from the kerbside.”
Stuart Foster, CEO of RECOUP, added: “The positive response to our question on plant pot collection in our recent Household Plastics Collection Survey means that we are starting to gather more detailed information from local councils. RECOUP have 30 years’ experience of working across the whole plastics resource and packaging industry and we are now being approached by industries, such as the garden sector, keen to explore how they can help create a fully circular and resource- efficient economy, underpinned by effective producer and consumer responsibility.”