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Help for Gardeners from Greenbelt Public Works

posted in: Home and Garden

plastic pots

Recycling Plastic Pots
These are just some of the plastic pots I unwittingly acquired in April in my yearly fit of plant-buying. I gathered them here to wash them before looking for the least bad way to deal with them, feeling heartsick that plants come with plastic. Is there really no better way to package them?

But assuming for now that we’re stuck with them, what to do with the darn things? Fortunately, they’re accepted by Greenbelt’s recycling program, something that’s apparently unusual, though Prince George’s County seems to accept them, too. (NC State acknowledges that most recycling programs in NC don’t pick up this type of plastic and recommends places to take them, or in the alternative, re-using them.)

Greenbelters can just reference the Public Works Department’s handy Recycling Guide, which is where I found flower pots on the “accepted” list. So yay!

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Re-use is generally considered a better alternative, so I googled a bit and found that This Old House offers 10 ways to reuse them, though to me, they’re all a stretch.  And none of the “Garden Recycle“ ideas on Pinterest offered much help.

Yard Waste Pick-up is another way that Public Works helps Greenbelt gardeners.

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To flesh out the details in that notice, below are the sorts of containers that yard waste can be collected in for pick-up. So you can buy bags and stuff yard waste into them, or just fill up your plastic trash cans, buckets or large plastic containers.  They’ll be dumped and then left where you placed them, and in my experience there’s no need to label them as “yard waste,” as it’s pretty obvious.  (The “bins” here are filled with free mulch – more on that below.)

Bags or "bins" can be used.
Bags or “bins” can be used.

Free Mulch
While most new plants have to be purchased, not so that other regular input in a full and well-tended garden – mulch – and boy, was I relieved to discover piles of mulch for the taking here in Greenbelt after I moved here. I still buy the better-looking commercial stuff for high-visibility spots but for most of my garden and certainly for mixing into the soil, our free stuff is good enough. What’s a little shredded trash among friends?

There’s even a way to dump your own yard waste and gather mulch in the same trip, as I describe in this article.

 

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Finally, I discovered that lots of other yard waste – the non-vegetative types – will be picked up, for a separate fee.  I don’t know what they charge but it’s gotta be better than making a special trip to the landfill in Upper Marlboro.

Follow Susan Harris:
Susan started blogging about Greenbelt soon after moving here in 2012. Retired from garden writing and teaching, she continues to blog at GardenRant.com and direct Good Gardening Videos.org, a nonprofit, ad-free educational campaign.

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