Top recycling tips for gardeners

The most recent instalment of the ABC’s War on Waste campaign focused attention on plastics and the damage they do to our environment. Here are some ways to re-use and recycle plastic gardening materials and old garden tools.

1. Pots & labels

  • Contact local schools, community gardens or garden clubs to ask if they can re-use pots, or offer them on sites such as The Freecycle Network ( rather than putting them into your council recycling bin.
  • Cut the base out of pots and sink them halfway into the ground to form a collar around young seedlings as a barrier against snails or scratching chooks.
  • Instead of throwing plant labels away, secure them with garden twine on a low outer branch of your plant, as a reminder of its needs, or store them in a file or garden diary for reference.

2. Soft plastic potting & mulch bags

  • Re-use bags to line the sides (not the base) of outdoor pots as a layer of insulation against heat and water loss, especially through porous unglazed pots.
  • Line hanging baskets with used bags to insulate the potting mix and reduce moisture loss. Poke a few holes in the base for drainage.
  • Grow a crop of potatoes, herbs or tomatoes in a used bag.
  • Buy potting mix or mulch in bulk from landscape suppliers instead of bagged products, and have it delivered or collect it. If it’s too much, split it with neighbours.

3. Garden tools

  • Give young couples or new home owners a gift of quality secateurs, a good garden fork or a sturdy digging spade for their garden.
  • Search garage sales for sturdy second-hand garden equipment that you can re-use.
  • When downsizing, donate your excess garden tools to a school garden or community garden.

For many more great recycling ideas, pick up a copy of the January issue, on sale now.