August 15, 2013
When Landscape Ontario began a program to recycle horticultural plastic back in 2010, the goal was to look after a product that was being rejected by municipal programs.

CNLA took over the program and gave it a nation-wide emphasis in 2011. Last year saw 50 gardens centres across Canada collect over 90,000 lbs of material. 26 of those garden centres were from Ontario. This year the number of centres taking part was about the same as last year. Since the program began, the annual 10-day event has diverted over 120,000 lbs. of plastic from landfills.

The amount of plastic collected this year from June 21 to July 1 was down over previous years. As of the end of July 12, garden centres reported collecting 30,525 lbs.

The lower amount collected can be attributed to the efforts of the industry over the past four years to reduce horticultural plastic. Julia Ricottone, landscape and garden centres priorities manager, who coordinated the program this year, says another reason for the decline in numbers is, “Municipalities are beginning to recognize the benefits that come with recycling horticultural plastic, and many now accept plastic pots as part of their curbside recycling program.”

Says Ricottone, “Garden centres should be proud to have led these initiatives! The public is more accustomed to the option of returning their old garden pots for recycling at their local independent garden centre any time of the year.”  

CNLA extends a thank you to all participating member garden centre owners and staff who put in the extra effort to make this event so successful. “The goal of this event was to raise awareness of the need for recycling solutions for the industry, and we are beginning to see this goal become a reality,” said Ricottone.  

The plastic recycling event will return in 2014. Recyclers who are able to offer free pick-ups of unsorted garden and agricultural plastics, and garden retailers who wish to participate, are asked to contact the CNLA.