This month there has been a lot of talk of using less or no plastic so I decided to jump on the band wagon (for a good cause) and attempt to reduce the amount of plastic I buy or use.
Unfortunately, the supermarkets seem to be intent on selling everything wrapped or contained in plastic. So the first step I try to achieve is to reuse as much of the plastic as I can before recycling as then at least I am not buying more that I have to.
The containers that vegetables come in can be reused as seedling pots or as water trays depending on the size. Berry punnets have holes already punched so you just need soil and I find that the low containers (tender stem broccoli) can be used as water trays. The mushroom containers can be used as pots for plants that need a lot of water where you want to retain moisture. I have my tomatoes and courgette growing in containers without holes and they love it as they never dry out and as the containers are clear I can see when the soil dries out and water accordingly. All my other pots are terracotta which I love but they do dry out very fast in comparison to plastic.
I try to reuse the plastic bags that the compost comes in by using them as ‘grow bags’ for vegetables and other annuals. The other thing is not to order the mix in the first place by reusing compost and just adding chicken manure pellets or other amendments so that I can reduce the amount of plastic we bring into the house.
I recently bought a worm farm (wormery), unfortunately I ordered it before the effort to reduce plastic. It is plastic however it is 100% recycled plastic and, I tried to counteract that with a metal kitchen compost bin. We have swapped over to compostable bags for the metal bin and also (if they don’t tear) the regular rubbish bin. Hopefully, this will reduce the amount of plastic we throw out with the trash each week.
The final thing I bought a paper pot maker and it arrived today; (I am not getting paid for this review as I am not that famous). It comes in three sizes which I think might be a little small. A tiny 3cm pot, a 4.cm pot and a 6cm pot; I would have preferred at least a 10cm pot but I guess that is just me and you are probably supposed to use them only for tiny seedlings.
It is wooden, which is great and it stacks up inside each other so that is handy as well; I already have too much stuff in the garden cupboard as it is. The other thing is that it will reduce root disturbance when planting out. We just don’t want a repeat of this year’s delayed spring as the plants may outgrow a 6cm pot if planting out is put off.
I’m going to use a magazine to make some pots so I feel like I am recycling something extra (instead of buying a newspaper especially).
The first ones I did were with the cover which is a little thicker paper with the 6cm size; I think that these seem sturdier. The others I did with the inside paper so are a little more ‘bendy’ but I think once there is a full tray they will be fine.
They will be very useful as I don’t want to buy any plastic module trays and multiples of the smallest size in a low tray will emmulate a module; I can plant each one straight into the garden beds.
This year I will try to plant out using the clump method for carrots and other root vegetables and the small size will be perfect for that.
A couple of negatives, the measurements on the paper are a little short as when you press it there is a hole or gap on the bottom where the paper doesn’t line up; easily solved as I just made the paper strip a little wider.
The other negative (technically my own fault) is that I paid five pounds more that needed as I didn’t shop around enough and the original website sells them for far less. Now seeing and using the product I think the Burgon & Ball website is more reasonably priced for what you get. Practically, you could use an old can or bottle but then you wouldn’t get the nice stackable wooden set in great sizes.
Do you have any ideas on how to reduce plastic consumption? I am always interested in any tips and suggestions I can use to re-purpose items rather than throw them away (benefits are two-fold as I like to save money as well)