Reusing (rather than recycling) in the garden

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Soda bottle cloches
If you've read NPR's "How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled", then you've read this quote: "Here's the basic problem: All used plastic can be turned into new things, but picking it up, sorting it out and melting it down is expensive. Plastic also degrades each time it is reused, meaning it can't be reused more than once or twice. On the other hand, new plastic is cheap. It's made from oil and gas, and it's almost always less expensive and of better quality to just start fresh. All of these problems have existed for decades, no matter what new recycling technology or expensive machinery has been developed. In all that time, less than 10 percent of plastic has ever been recycled. But the public has known little about these difficulties." and are now completely depressed.

In the garden I've been emphasizing the "reuse" portion of the reduce/reuse/recycle mantra, and it looks like we'll be emphasizing it a little more. Yogurt containers to hold seeds out in the garden, holes drilled in the bottom they become pots for veggie seedlings. Keeping the black seedling pots from the garden store, and reusing for the same purpose. Takeout trays collecting water from seedling pots, salad containers for transporting compost from source to destination. Soda liter bottle tops turned into cloches to protect young plants from early frosts. Milk jugs reconfigured for winter sowing. Lemon/Avocado netting bags for daffodil bulbs, dahlia tubers, onions and garlic. PVC pipe trimmings extended with connectors and put back to use in the garden...Heck, we even wash Ziploc bags and reuse them a few times (for non-garden purposes!).

Winter Sowing Seeds
Daffodil bulbs in a lemon bag Hyssop seed heads in a yogurt container

We don't call it the "trash garden" for nothing!

Hardening Off the Indoor Seedlings

It's not much, but if we all started truly reusing and reducing, then maybe we wouldn't have to fall for the ruse of recycling.


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