Everywhere you look, it seems like the horticultural industry is covered with….PLASTIC! Take a deeper look into what goes into our choice of materials and learn about our committment to recycling.
We’ve been committed to sustainable practices at Peace Tree Farm since our start in 1983. In 2017, that commitment remains solid. We make a conscious effort to choose the best resources with the lowest environmental impact, at the best value for our customers. With that formula in mind, we’ve chosen to use post-consumer, recyclable plastic pots from East Jordan Plastics located in Michigan as our growing containers (over 98% of our containers). The only portion of virgin plastic used in this process is the <2% green outer layer on our signature Peace Tree Farm logo QT pots. We’ve tried other options in the choice of pots and containers; we’ve used biodegradable rice pots but have found that this choice has a higher overall price, inferior quality, and ultimately a much higher carbon footprint. The rice pots are made in China and follow a lengthy logistics route to end up in our greenhouse or your retail operation. Due to a Chinese patent, this type of pot cannot be sourced more locally in the U.S, despite the fact that rice husks are a disposal problem here.
Experiences like the one we had with rice pots have made us return to recyclable post-consumer plastic pots and trays as the most responsible choice, and they are fully recyclable. Where possible and safe, we reuse our plastics. Trays are reused the most at about 4-5 times, pots which don’t go out the door for a sale are reused up to 2 times. On average, we recycle at least 10 skids of plastic directly to our supplier, East Jordan. These skids are sorted, cleaned, chipped, and turned into renewed pots. This closed-loop recycling system ensures that the materials are used over and over, getting the longest life out of the materials and keeping them out of landfill.
On the consumer side, our QT and 3.5in pots are #5 polypropylene plastics which are recyclable through almost all curbside recycling programs. These are sturdy pots which can be saved and reused or recycled direct via East Jordan.
Beyond plastic pots, we also recycle our greenhouse plastic skin. When it comes time to re-skin our houses, we don’t simply throw away the old plastic. The plastic is consolidated, bundled, and brought to a local company that will re-purpose the plastic into other products.
We all must do our part to reduce or eliminate single-use plastics in the horticultural industry and in our daily lives. This is our method for consciously reducing, reusing, and recycling our material inputs. What are you doing in your business or home to lessen your plastic footprint?