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Plastic Free Gardening

Plastic is really useful in the garden but it comes at a cost to the environment and wildlife. Luckily there are many alternatives, and sometimes they're better for your plants too

Lightweight, cheap and rot-proof even when damp, plastic is an incredibly convenient material in the garden. In the 60 years it has been in widespread use it has permeated every area of gardening, from seed trays and plant 

pots to horticultural fleece, hoses and fruit cage netting.

But the very qualities which make plastic so useful come at a high price to the wider environment. Plastic is among the worst pollutants of our oceans, devastating marine wildlife and washing up as unsightly rubbish on beaches. Changing the way we garden to avoid using plastic, by turning to 

biodegradable materials like wood, paper and coir and making careful choices, reduces the environmental cost of gardening – and sometimes it’s better for your plants, too.

Quick facts


  • There are about 500 million plastic pots in circulation

  • Only one third of rigid plastic is ever recycled

  • Plastic can only be recycled 7-9 times before it becomes too weak to reuse

  • Plastic plant pots take more than 400 years to break down

  • About a third of the 78 million tons of plastic packaging produced annually ends up in the ocean

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