Go green: Which horticultural plastics can be recycled and where?

Many horticultural plastic companies will accept and recycle containers.

Photo 1. Greenhouse operation recycling used containers. All photos by W. Garrett Owen, MSU Extension

Photo 1. Greenhouse operation recycling used containers. All photos by W. Garrett Owen, MSU Extension

By now, greenhouse operations have gleaned the production areas of spring and early summer plant material. I have come across some operations that have deposited used and even un-used containers, flats or carrier trays in large dumpsters for recycling (Photo 1). At each operation, I have been asked about proper disposal of these horticultural plastics and the answer is easy— recycle (Photo 2)!

In other instances, I have come across garden-retail centers that accept and collect used containers from consumers (Photo 3). Regardless of where used plug or liner trays, containers or carrier trays come from, there is a possibility these horticultural plastics can be recycled.

recycle hort

Photo 2. Plastic horticultural containers selected to be recycled.

Garden-retail center accepting used containers from consumers.

Photo 3. Garden-retail center accepting used containers from consumers.

The most common questions I receive are: “Can this be recycled?” and “Who accepts horticultural plastics for recycling?” Fortunately, many horticultural plastic companies will accept and recycle containers, and if it could not get any better, there may be a local horticultural plastic processor (Photo 4) and recycler near you. However, greenhouse glazing materials such polycarbonate from poly-covered greenhouses or plastic mulches or groundcovers from plasticulture may not be recyclable.

Used horticultural plastic containers are chipped to be repurposed into new horticultural plastics by a Michigan company.

Photo 4. Used horticultural plastic containers are chipped to be repurposed into new horticultural plastics by a Michigan company.

Table 1 describes various horticultural plastics and indicates how to distinguish between recyclable and non-recyclable forms. Table 2 lists plastic companies that accept used horticultural plastics for recycling.

For more information about horticultural plastics and recycling, Michigan State University Extension recommends these two articles:

Table 1. Types of horticultural plastics that can be recycled.

Plastic type

Horticultural plastics

Common uses

Can it be recycled?

#2

High-Density Polyethylene (HPDE)

Nursery containers

Yes, clean containers.

#4

Low-Density Polyethylene (LPDE)

Greenhouse-glazing material, plastic mulches

Yes, bale plastics for easy handling and transport.

#5

Polypropylene (PP)

Pots

Yes, relatively or completely clean.

#6

High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS)

Plug and liner trays, flats, carrier trays

Yes, clean flats and trays.

 

Table 2. Example list of plastic companies that accept horticultural plastics for recycling.

Bata Plastics

1001 40th Street, S.E.
Grand Rapids, MI 49508
616-452-5300

Grand Rapids Iron & Metal

1701 Clyde Park S.W. #15
Wyoming, MI 49509
616-248-9300

Blackmore Company

10800 Blackmore Avenue
Belleville, MI 48111
1-800-874-8660

Granger Recycling Center

16980 Wood Rd
Lansing, MI 48906
517-372-2800

Delta Plastics

8801 Frazier Pike
Little Rock, AR 72206
1-800-277-9172

McDunnough, Inc.

340 North Fenway Drive
Fenton, MI 48430
734-449-4008

East Jordan Plastics, Inc.

6400 M-32 Highway
East Jordan, MI 49727
1-800-353-1190

Mondo Polymer Technologies

27620 State Route 7
Reno, OH 45773
740-376-9396

EcoQuest LLC

13650 172nd Ave.,
Grand Haven, MI 49417
616-296-0767

 

Revolution Plastics

844-490-7873

 

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