Plastic Plant Pots

Plastic Plant Pots 
A common sight in gardens for decades. These pots are a staple due to their convenience, material properties and versatility. However, the environmental impacts of plastics, highlighted recently, has caused it to be examined in depth. 

Pros

Cons

- Plastic pots are durable and easy to use, shape etc. (ref)

- Plastics can be used again in the home setting, or to replant other seeds and plants. (ref)

- Some studies have suggested that plants in plastic containers grow more than those in biodegradable, a potential reason being less water loss from plastic pots. (ref)

- Recycled plastic pots can be purchased,     somewhat reducing the impact on the environment. (ref)

- Plastic pots are good for plants whose roots don't like to be disturbed. (ref) Especially from light. (ref)

- Classic black pots can be replaced now with a recyclable taupe pot, a grey mushroom coloured pot made from plastic. (ref)

- Many plastic containers are discarded after their initial use, (ref) becoming single use plastics which cannot be recycled by many recycling schemes. (ref) (This is due to the fact most pots contain black pigment, which is incompatible with the infra-red detection sensors used by councils (ref)). 500 million pots are made each year in the UK, (ref) the majority unable to be recycled. 

- Plastic pot waste can either fill a landfill for around 500 hundred years (ref) or be burned, both having negative environmental problems. (ref)

- Most plastic is made from crude oil, a fossil fuel and non renewable source. (ref)

Plastic Pots Summary

Whilst plastic pots have been used for ages and they are easy to use, however there are multiple issues with plastic pots. They are non renewable, take hundreds of years to decompose and non-recyclable. These have massive impacts on the environment and can continue to pollute the environment for centuries to come. There are many alternative pots that are not plastic (see below) and these are more environmentally friendly than pots.

Alternates
There has been a rise in the demand of biodegradable plant pots, (ref) meaning there are many alternates to plastic nowadays.
- Trays of plants can be made of paper, which will decompose with the plant or be composed. (ref)
- Bio-based pots can be purchased made from wood pulp, rice hulls and cow manure. These can be composted or planted with the plant. Despite this, however, biodegradable pots tend to be more expensive than plastic, (ref) and will dry out more quickly than plastic. (ref)
- Coir (coconut husks) and seaweed can also be used for pots. (ref)
- Rigid alternates biodegradable pots (lasting three years) can be made along with pots that will degrade in three months. (ref)
- Bamboo is another material that can be used to create pots, and is one of the longer lasting biodegradable materials that almost looks like plastic. (ref)
- Homemade pots can be a great alternative to plastic, utilising materials like egg shells, toilet rolls, newspaper, fruit rinds etc. (ref)
- Other conventional pot materials are available, clay, metal and wood being examples. (ref)