Keep those plastic pots out of local landfills

Published: Friday, October 18, 2013 at 02:52 PM.

Lowe’s is not the only place that will accept plastic plant pots and containers. Many local nurseries will reuse plastic pots if you return them. I called a few in our area, including Tinga Nursery in Castle Hayne, Pender Pines in Hampstead, and Phillips Nursery in Leland. All said that would gladly take back gallon size pots and larger (these are the type of containers perennials, trees and shrubs are grown in), but they are not able to use plastic six packs or pots that annuals and vegetables were grown in. Your best option for recycling these is Lowe’s.

Reuse at home

You can also reuse plastic pots for your own gardening. Larger pots, such as three or five gallon containers, are particularly useful for growing vegetables. Save four and six packs to start seedlings or root cuttings. Hanging baskets can be replanted with new plants in future years. Since plant diseases like root rot can survive on pots from year to year, it is recommended you wash and sanitize pots before reusing them by first scrubbing off any soil or plant debris and then soaking the pots for at least thirty minutes in a ten percent bleach solution, which can be made by mixing nine parts water to one part bleach. After pots are cleaned, store them somewhere off the ground until you are ready to use them.

Learn more

For lawn and gardening advice, visit where you can submit questions via the ‘Ask an Expert’ link, or contact your local Cooperative Extension center by phone: If you live in Pender County, call 910-259-1238; in New Hanover County, call 910-798-7660; in Brunswick County call 910-253-2610. 

Charlotte D. Glen is the horticulture agent with the Pender County Cooperative Extension of NC State University, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences. She can be reached via e-mail at

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