What’s the Deal with Gardening Supplies?

It’s that time of year. Spring is here and lawn and garden care are in high swing. The nice weather, and social distancing, have given us all more time to spruce things up in our backyards. But, once we’re done with the planting and the seeds are watered, what do we do with the soil and fertilizer bags or the plastic nursery pots?

The shorts answer is that we cannot recycle the items. Despite some of them, plastic nursing pots specifically, having recycling symbols on them, they do not belong in your curbside bin. Plastic pots are actually considered a rigid plastic, and this type of plastic is hard for the recycling facilities to work with. Soil bags are typically still filled with some amount of soil when left curbside, and this can cause contamination of clean recyclables. The bags themselves are also just as dangerous as plastic grocery bags, they can clog up machinery and cause injury to workers.

What can you do with these items?

Soil and fertilizer bags should be thrown in your normal trash can. You can also use these bags for other things in your garden if you are able to clean them out enough. Some with handles can be used to store gardening materials!

Gardening chemicals that come in plastic jugs or bottles should NOT be placed in your recycling bin. The best thing to do with empty bottles is to fill them out with cold water and then use the water downed substance normally (meaning you can use this on your plants again). DO NOT dump the water down your drain, dump it outside. Repeat this process 2-3 times and then wrap the bottle in newspaper and throw it away. This should only be done with empty, registered products. If you have old, or unregistered pesticides or fertilizers, they should be saved for disposal at a hazardous waste day!

Finally, plastic planting pots. These are the most common offender in recycling bins. Despite them being plastic or having a recycling symbol, we will not take recycling with these pots inside. Instead you can reuse them at home or donate them to other friends who are gardeners. Home Depot does recycle these planting pots, so they can be brought to the gardening center at Home Depot locations. Please call ahead at this time to ensure this is still happening right now due to the current circumstances. Lastly, you can hold onto the pots and dispose of them at our rigid plastics event which is scheduled for October 17th 2020!


Thank you for your efforts to keep our recycling clean! If you have any questions please email sflanagan@cityofmelrose.org