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Reggie the Recycling Racoon says: reuse or recycle your plant containers and tools

Courtesy photo. Reggie the Recycling Racoon.
Courtesy photo. Reggie the Recycling Racoon.

(Chelsea Update would like to thank Frank Hammer and the Western Washtenaw Recycling Authority for the information in this story.)

Many people are putting in flower or vegetable plants that come from the nurseries, stores or farmers in plastic pots.  So, what does Reggie recommend for all those used plastic containers?

There are two answers.

The first is to reuse them, which is an even better purpose than recycling. Some nurseries and farmers that supply the plants are willing to take back their containers for use the following year.  So be sure to ask about this option, when you purchase your plants and veggie starts.

If the containers are 10 inches or larger, you can donate them to the Chelsea Area Garden Club. Look here for club members to make arrangements. Don’t live in Chelsea?  Check with members of your own garden clubs in Dexter, Manchester or Stockbridge.

Reused plant containers.
Reused plant containers.

Those hanging baskets make lovely displays on the porch or patio, but seem to multiply over the winter in the back of the garage.  First try either asking the nursery where you bought them if they can re-use them, or even re-plant them yourself with fresh potting soil and new bedding plants. Within a very few weeks, yours will be as lush as those you spend a lot more for at the nursery.

The second answer is to recycle the plastic containers at WWRA.  Please respect the sorting machinery, and remove all soil from them first. It is helpful, sometimes, to also give a quick swish with a hose, to get rid of residue.  The soil, of course, can be recycled in your own garden or compost pile.

Some people also ask about recycling garden utensils such as trowels, rakes and shovels when the handles are broken and the tips are all metal.  These can be recycled and WWRA would be happy to receive them. When your favorite shovel or a rake breaks the handle, if you are handy you can purchase a new wooden handle, which can then bring the item back to life. If the handle is plastic, you probably need to recycle it.

And while you are recycling garden supplies, please remember:  If it is a flexible plastic bag, like potting soil, it goes to the trash. But if it is a paper bag, like many fertilizers, then you can recycle it.

Reggie the Recycling Racoon says: For gardening containers and tools, first try to re-use or repair, then recycle if needed.

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