The Importance of Up-Cycling Black Plastic Plant Pots

Black plastic plant pots are a common sight in nurseries and garden centres. They are often used for their durability and cost-effectiveness. However, they have long posed a challenge when it comes to recycling. Unlike their coloured alternatives, black plastic is not yet detectable in recycling centres, resulting in almost all these pots, ending up in landfills. This accumulation of black plastic pots in landfills, contributes to the growing problem of plastic pollution.

Plants Growing in Black Plastic Plant Pots - Shutterstock

Depending on the makeup of the plastic and its chemical structure it can take anywhere between 20 to 500 years to decompose. When black plastics end up in landfills or on the side of roads, their decomposition releases toxic chemicals into the environment. These chemicals, over time can end up in the water we drink and the food we eat. Throughout this article we will explore what can we do as users of black plastic pots to help fight these issues and become more mindful consumers.

With a little creativity and a commitment to our environment, we can give these pots a second chance through the art of upcycling or by returning the unbroken pots to local garden centres which offer black plant pot take back schemes.

Benefits of Up-Cycling

Upcycling provides a creative solution to the problem of black plastic plant pots. By repurposing these pots, we can extend their lifespan and prevent them from entering the waste stream. Upcycling offers endless possibilities, allowing us to transform the pots into unique and functional objects for our gardens. From creating herb planters and seedling trays to decorative flowerpots and hanging baskets, the only limit is our imagination.

Upcycling black plastic plant pots not only diverts them from landfills but also offers several other advantages. Firstly, it reduces the need for new plastic production, conserving resources and minimizing greenhouse gas emissions. Secondly, it promotes creativity and individuality in our gardens, as upcycled pots can be customized to reflect our personal style. Finally, upcycling helps us cultivate a greater appreciation for the value and potential of everyday items, fostering a more sustainable mindset. It’s also a great activity to do with our little ones!

Mother and Daughter Up-Cycling Plant Pots - Shutterstock

Recycling Centres and Plant Pot Take-Back Schemes

Fortunately, initiatives are emerging in the UK to address the challenges associated with black plastic plant pots. Some recycling centres now accept these pots, employing manual sorting techniques to ensure proper recycling. Furthermore, several nurseries and garden centres have implemented plant pot take-back schemes, where customers can return their used pots for recycling or reuse. You can do this at our nursery too! If you’re from and around Norfolk, you can bring your black plastic pots to our nursery in Ormesby. We will happily re-use them to grow more plants! These initiatives aim to create a closed-loop system, reducing waste and promoting a circular economy within the horticultural industry.

A Stack of Black Plastic Plant Pots - Shutterstock

Tips for Up-Cycling Black Plastic Plant Pots

  1. Clean and sanitize the pots before starting your upcycling project.
  2. Use non-toxic paints and sealants suitable for outdoor use.
  3. Get creative with designs, such as stencilling, decoupage, or adding decorative elements like ribbons, shells, or rope.
  4. Consider repurposing pots for different gardening needs, such as herb gardens, succulent arrangements, or vertical planters.
  5. Share your upcycled creations with others to inspire them to join the movement. Feel free to tag us in your posts on Facebook and Instagram using #harrodoutdoorsupcycletime

Final Thoughts

Upcycling black plastic plant pots is a simple yet impactful way to contribute to a more sustainable future. By diverting these pots from landfills and giving them new life, we can reduce waste, conserve resources, and unleash our creativity in the garden. Additionally, supporting recycling centres and participating in plant pot take-back schemes will further contribute to the transition towards a circular economy in the horticultural industry. We can also become more mindful about the pots we choose for our plants. There are many alternatives available like terracotta, coir, Vipots, Fibre, bamboo, waste board and many more single use, biodegradable options.


Together, we can make a difference, one pot at a time.