There are many different ways to reduce plastic waste. When it comes to gardening, we can replace our non-degradable plastic posts with biocontainers or biopots. Plastic containers are still widely used due to their durability. They can be reused year after year, so are therefore cheaper. That said, biocontainers have several advantages over traditional plastic. Unlike petroleum-based plastic pots that take a couple hundred years to break down, they are weak enough to either degrade in the soil or be composted. Plantable containers make transplanting quicker and easier. This reduces the chance to root injury. For this reason, biodegradable pots make a lot of sense when it comes to seed starting. Biopots also promote better drainage and air circulation to the roots. Clearly, eco-friendly pots can benefit your gardening practice in many ways. There are a huge variety of materials to make eco-friendly containers. Each has varying levels of strength and decay resistance. Here are some of them:
Bamboo pots can hold up well for many years. They are not suited to direct planting into the ground. Just like plastic containers, bamboo pots come in a range of sizes and color. This one by Rossos International resembles a durable, colorful plastic. The scalloped edging around the top adds aesthetic look to the pot. The pot will fully biodegrade within 3-6 months when placed in a landfill so natural resource will return back to your soil.
Composted Cow Manure
CowPots is the commercial name for containers that are derived from composted cow manure. They offer an easy way to grow plants from seed. According to a study, CowPot offers faster degradation in soil compared to paper and coir containers. They last for months above ground, plenty of time to give seedlings a robust start, and will break down naturally within 4 weeks of planting. As composted manure is nutrient rich, soil conditions will get improved as the pots break down.
Seed starter pots made from coconut coir is another environmentally friendly alternative to plastic pots. The fibrous material is a byproduct of coconut harvest, meaning it is entirely sustainable. Because of its antifungal properties, this renewable resource also makes an excellent substitute for peat. Plants in coir pots can also be planted straight into the ground. Just keep in mind that coconut fiber containers has lower level of decomposition compared to Cowpots.
As you can see, a wide variety of containers that are truly biodegradable are available on the market. Fertilpot is one product for you who are asking for ready-to-use wood fiber pots. Composed primarily of spruce wood, the pots are intended to be planted directly in the ground. They do not require a composting situation to degrade. Depending on soil conditions, Fertilpot will be signficantly degraded in about 6-8 months. A study found that wood fiber container has a higher rate of sidewall water loss than then ones made from composted manure and coir. This translates to higher water use.
Just like coconut coir, rice hull is a material that would normally be thrown away, so using it as plant containers is a great way to become more environmentally friendly. Plants grown in rice hull containers do not require more water than those grown in plastic pots. With thicker and rigid walls, rice hull containers have good dry vertical and lateral strength. EcoForms pots that are made from rice hulls and natural binding agents last up to five years outdoors. The pots are intended to be used above ground only.
If you have been looking at “out of the box” uses for used pineapple waste, then have a look at these compostable flower pots. Reportedly, the pots stayed intact for an average of 45 days hence they are mostly appropriate for herbs or vegetables that have short preproduction phase. Pineapple is a powerhouse of nutrients so using pots made of pineapple waste can be a great way to naturally fertilize soil.
For you who I like anything that is recyclable and sustainable, the becausewecare seedling pots are worth taking a closer look. Made from a combination of corn starch and other natural ingredients, the pots are designed to be planted in the soil with a seedling. They will start to break down in anywhere between 2-6 months.
The above are just some examples of biocontainer materials. The list does not stop here. There are numerous natural and sustainable materials to make eco-friendly plant containers. You can even cheaply make your own biodegradable pots using waste materials at home. Hopefully, we can lessen our dependency on plastics.