A Missouri Garden Hits a Recycling Record

The Missouri Botanical Garden hits a recycling record with garden plastic, keeping 70,000 pounds of waste from going to landfills.
By the GRIT MAGAZINE Editors
January/February 2007

Steven Cline, manager of the William T. Kemper Center for Home Gardening, oversees the recycling collection process at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis.

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The Missouri Botanical Garden hits a recycling record and in turn, helping the environment. 

The Missouri Botanical Garden takes its recycling program seriously. For the 2006 collection period, the garden hits a recycling record, keeping 70,000 pounds of waste from going to landfills.

The program collects plastic gardening containers, poly cell packs and trays during six weekend drives in May and June. The garden’s efforts were supplemented by contributions from four gardening centers and two recycling centers.

"There is an infectious nature about gardeners wanting to do the right thing and recycle their pots and trays," says Steven Cline, manager of the William T. Kemper Center for Home Gardening at St. Louis’ Missouri Botanical Garden.

Cline founded the Pot Recycling Program, and he has managed the program since its 1997 beginnings. "We continue to see increased participation each year, which has inspired us to expand the program."

He says the program will be looking to add more off-site collections.

The horticultural waste collected in the Pots to Planks program is transformed into durable black plastic "lumber." The garden and partner Environmental Recycling Inc. received grants from the Missouri Environmental Improvement and Energy Resource Authority to assist
in the efforts.

In the last three years, more than 2,500 planks of plastic lumber have been processed and made available for purchase. Most are used in raised garden beds or composting bins.

Plastic timbers last longer than wooden ties, and they never warp, rot or splinter. Each plank is 7 inches by 9 inches by 8½ feet, and weighs about 280 pounds. The landscape timbers are available to contractors with proceeds benefiting the recycling program.

For more information on the Plastic Pot Recycling program, as well as other offerings at the Missouri Botanical Garden, visit the website at www.MOBOT.org. 

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