So far I think I’ve established that your ability to dispose of the plastic in your garden responsibly kind of depends on where you live. You may be in the lucky 49% of the UK whose council collects rigid plastic from the kerbside. Or you may have one of the UK’s rare plastic recycling plants in your neighbourhood, in which case your local garden centre may have set up a pot collection scheme in partnership with them.
Unfortunately neither of those applies to me: so I’m stuck with trundling 30 miles along the A30 to Exeter and back to visit my nearest big city tip if I want to recycle my surplus pots.
Unless, of course, I avoid recycling them altogether and just pass them on.
My stockpile of plastic pots is perfectly serviceable: there are just too many of them (especially since I moved to non-plastic alternatives). So I began to wonder if I could find other gardeners who could use them instead: allotment holders, perhaps, or community gardeners, CSA volunteers and the organisers of school gardening clubs.
I started with an ad on Freecycle, there are other swap communities too where you can advertise unwanted but useful stuff, like Freegle and Preloved (though this last is mainly for buying & selling second-hand, it accepts ads for free stuff too.)
It was the second or third time I’ve tried this, and the results this time were much the same. A little flurry of responses: three, on this occasion. Followed by… well, basically nothing, as nobody turned up when they said they were going to.
Perhaps it’s just where I live. Or perhaps community gardeners are far too busy to do things like logging on to Freegle in the hope that someone will be advertising pots today. Anyway: as a strategy for tackling the teetering piles of plastic pots in my garden this is hit-and-miss at best.
So, I thought, perhaps I should take my pots to needy gardeners rather than waiting for them to find me. The first people I thought of were community, school and therapy gardens. Only trouble is, it’s hard to know where to start in getting in touch with them to find out whether they could use the contents of my shed without the time-consuming fuss of ringing round each and every one.
Enter…. the Free Pot Swap Shop!
Actually it’s not a swap at all really (I just liked the name and Noel Edmonds was an indelible part of my childhood). It’s just a place for anyone who wants to get their hands on other people’s pots to let other gardeners know about it.
As soon as I’ve collected a few responses I will start a page on this website with a list by county of any organisation or individual who is willing to take donations of used pots, trays, modules or any other gardening equipment.
After that it’s up to gardeners with donations to contact the organisation to arrange a drop-off.
If you are interested in receiving donations, please fill in the form below. Alternatively you can get in touch with me on Twitter (@sallynex or using the hashtag #gardeningwithoutplastic).
If you are interested in passing on your pots I will post a link here and more prominently on the website as soon as the page is up.
Please clean donated pots first and make sure they are in good working order. Thank you!