Can I recycle plant pots?

Claudia B. from Chicago asks:
"Can I put plastic flower pots marked “recyclable” in the blue bin to be recycled?"

Plastic plant and flower pots are not accepted in Chicago's recycling program, even if they're marked "recyclable".  

Why not?

Many cities, including Chicago, don't accept plant pots mainly because they’re rarely free of dirt. Dirt can soil paper it comes in contact with, making it unfit for recycling.  So it's a trade-off.

Additionally, plant pots can be made from various plastic resins including hard polystyrene (the same plastic as Solo® cups) which also isn't recyclable in many cities, including Chicago. But it's easy to avoid sending them to the landfill.

Return them to garden centers 

Most nurseries and garden centers will gladly accept plastic pot for reuse. Lowe's even created a recycling and reuse program specifically for plastic pots at all of their Garden Center locations, nationwide.  

Image © Miosotis Jade, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

Lowe's Garden Centers accept used plastic pots regardless of where they were purchased from, so stack those babies up and give them back. They've still got some work to do. 



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