Earth Day: Join The Initiative To Reduce Plastic Plant Pots

An astounding 95-98% of plastic horticultural pots end up in landfills.

A plastic pileup. Photo: APLD

It’s Earth Day and this year’s theme is Planet vs. Plastics, with EARTHDAY.ORG demanding a 60% reduction in the production of all plastics by 2040 for the sake of human and planetary health. The organization calls for people to advocate for widespread awareness on the health risk of plastics, rapidly phase out all single use plastics, urgently push for a strong UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution, and demand an end to fast fashion.

plasticIn the Green Industry, the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) is addressing the issue of horticultural plastic pots—and that an astounding 95-98% of them end up in landfills! Their advocacy effort, “Healthy Pots, Healthy Planet” seeks to raise awareness about the environmental costs of horticultural pots and gathers signatures in an online petition in support of more sustainable alternatives.

“The fact that 95-98% of the plastic plant pots we use are disposed in landfills is cause for concern,” says APLD Executive Director Denise Calabrese, CAE, who explained that the industry is calling for change. “It is time for those who care about the earth to work together for a more sustainable alternative to horticultural plastics.”

“Demand matters,” explains Toni Bailey, who heads up Healthy Pots, Healthy Planet. “We want to impress manufacturers and growers with market demand for more sustainable plant pots.”

plasticThe initiative grew out of a July 2020 APLD research paper, Plastic Pots and the Green Industry; Production, Use, Disposal and Environmental Impacts, that examined the key considerations and consequences of the Green Industry as the driver of plastic plant pot production and use. APLD joined with the Missouri Botanical Garden, in St. Louis, MO (which began its own ambitious initiative to recycle plastic pots) to find the facts and compile them in the report.

“We recognized very quickly that APLD members and others in the Green Industry generate thousands and thousands of plastic plant pots every year, and disposal is a significant problem,” says Bailey. “We realized that our voices needed to be heard about our desire to have alternatives that are more kind to the earth.”

Hence, the Healthy Pots, Healthy Planet initiative was formed with a singular focus: to build support for more sustainable options for plant pots through advocacy, education, and engagement with others in the Green Industry. Over the last several years, hundreds that are committed to environmental stewardship have supported this mission by signing their names to the online petition.

Last year, APLD released a follow-up report, The 2023 State of the Pot, to give a snapshot of the latest developments in the marketplace. It includes nursery statistics, several manufacturers who include recycled content pots, and current plastic pot alternatives. (Check out the USDA’s BioPreferred® site, click on Biobased Products, and choose Grounds Maintenance for a variety of more eco-friendly products.)

To read the report, sign the online petition and to find out more about Healthy Pots, Healthy Planet, visit

For more on Green Industry recycling efforts, read:

Sustainable Initiatives Undertaken By Largest Box Tree Grower In U.S.

Davey Will Recycle Wood Waste Into Biochar Soil Additive At New Facility

An Easy Way To Recycle Empty Syngenta Containers

Hunter Expands Irrigation Controller Recycling Program


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