Recycling Garden Garbage: What To Do With Old Garden Supplies

Box Of Used Garden Plant Plastic Containers
garden garbage
(Image credit: corners74)

Have you ever completed a planting job and looked aghast at all the garden related garbage you’ve just generated? Everything from plastic bags emptied of mulch to plastic nursery pots, plastic plant tags, and more. What can you do with all this non-organic garden waste? Can you recycle garden pots?

The good news is there are companies specializing in recycling garbage waste and there are even ways of utilizing old garbage supplies, like old hoses or tools, without adding to our landfills.

Non-organic garden waste includes the items mentioned above and so much more. There’s that faded plastic garden gnome who now needs a new home or the pruning shears that seem to be broken beyond repair along with the hose that has kinked its last kink.

None of it is destined for general recycling. The emptied bags of dirt or other medium are too dirty to go in with the grocery store bags to be recycled. What about all those nursery pots? What exactly can be done to minimize the waste of old garden supplies?

Can You Recycle Garden Pots?

The answer is yes, sort of. Your local municipality won’t want those pots in the recycle bin, but there are other ways to recycle pots. Big box hardware stores will normally accept plastic nursery pots. They will be sorted and either sterilized and reused or shredded and recycled into new products. Some of these centers will even take the plastic plant tags and trays as well.

You might also check with your local nursery and see if they are interested and, of course, save some for yourself. They are great to start seeds in or move transplants to. You can even use smaller ones for a twine dispenser by threading the twine through a drainage hole and taping the twine inside the pot.

Plastic pots can also be made into bug hotels, used for crafts, or used as a planting halo around plants to support them.

 What to Do with Old Garden Supplies

Old garden supplies might be anything from the aforementioned gnome to extra materials like concrete blocks, bricks, stone, etc. Instead of dumping those extra materials, find creative ways to use them such as making them into pathways, garden art, or using in future constructions. You can also list them on social media for free and they’ll probably walk away.

No matter how well we care for our garden tools, at some point they go kaput for one reason or another. Don’t throw them out. Instead donate them to the Conservation Foundation, Garden Works Project, or Work-aid where they will be refurbished and then used for school projects, community gardens, or sent to African nations.

Unfortunately, some items like old garden hoses are not recyclable, but there are many creative ways to use them. You can protect young trees, make an earwig trap, protect doors, make soaker hoses, and more.

How about the previously mentioned emptied bags of garden medium? Is recycling this garbage waste possible? No, the best way to keep this material from the landfill, at least temporarily, is to reuse it yourself. You can store compost or leaves in them, or even use these in place of a garbage bag to get one more use out of them before they go to the dump.

If all else fails, there are companies that will (for a fee) accept all sorts of non-organic garden waste. They will take your soil bags, broken terracotta pots, and even the old hose and recycle the materials and find the appropriate partners to reuse these materials to make new goods.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.