As in everyday life, plastic products for a working nursery are common place and have been for decades. These take the form of pots, labels, packaging, carrier bags, storage crates & sacks for compost to name but a few! A daunting list that we feel needs tackling.
Our first success has been to remove all plastic from our packaging when we despatch orders. Those of you who have recently received plants & your Camassia bulb orders from us will have noticed that plastic was not used. We have cardboard boxes that are compostable/recyclable & we recycle paper by shredding it to pack the inside of boxes. Also perfect for layers in your compost heap! We occasionally use recycled egg trays which create a super layer at the bottom of our boxes that takes impact during transit. Again these can be composted or recycled in your usual way.
Our next two targets are the plant pots we use on the nursery and carrier bags we use at shows when selling plants.
You may have seen or read in the press that kerbside recyclable plant pots are now becoming available & will hopefully, in time, replace black plastic pots that are widely used in the horticultural industry. These are a beige/taupe colour. Some Local Authorities, as I write this, do not yet accept kerbside recycling of these new pots & it is up to individuals to check if where they live & recycle they are free to do so.
As a small independent plant nursery it appears I cannot yet purchase these new pots. I am informed that minimum order quantities are so vast that only much larger organisations than my own are gaining access to them for now. The wheels of industry can turn painfully slow at times & although feeling frustrated I cannot stop using black plastic pots right now I am having to reluctantly accept that I am still ‘working towards’ this improvement at Hare Spring Cottage Plants.
PLASTIC CARRIER BAGS
The use of plastic carrier bags in our industry is also vast. A few years ago we were able to move to biodegradable plastic carrier bags, which we felt was a step in the right direction to become single-use plastic free. We now understand that a lot of these so called biodegradable bags actually leave micro plastic residue which is harmful to the environment. So we are once again looking at alternatives.
An obvious issue is selling plants at events when the weather is wet & when the plants in pots have been recently watered. We have trialled paper bags at shows but these have proved to be too flimsy to cope with excessive moisture.
We are now in the process of gathering samples of plastic free alternatives in the hope of finding a lasting solution to this issue. Our preferred choice would be to create a reusable shopping bag. Our research to date is slow but enlightening. We love the new sturdy paper bags that both Boots & Morrisons are now using, but once again minimum order quantities for a small business such as ours makes these unattainable. There is also still the issue of moisture in our plant pots sitting in paper bags – see comments above.
We have noticed a slight increase in visitors to events bringing their own reusable shopping bags & we applaud you for doing this & actively encourage more people to make this the new normal, as it is rapidly becoming when food shopping.
We will continue to look for positive alternatives. Who knows, someone out there might read this & be able to offer up immediate solutions!
We have now sourced a reusuable shopping bag & have created bespoke graphics on it. These will be available at all shows & events we will be attending from now on. They are also available to purchase via our website. CLICK ON Bespoke Cards & Bags.
It is a really positive feeling knowing we will no longer be using plastic carrier bags.
Hare Spring Cottage Plants