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Author Topic: Use of plastic in the garden.  (Read 1079 times)

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Use of plastic in the garden.
« on: May 06, 2019, 05:57:59 pm »
Every gardening programme seems to have an investigation into the use and recycling/re-use of plastic in the garden.  They talk of flower pots which are not recyclable but should be.  A larger concern to me is the use of netting and weed control fabrics, their disposal and the reality of re-using them. 


I find that ground cover black polythene, the mypex type woven material and spun weed control/ground cover fabric (which conveniently doesn't say what it's spun from) do not realistically last more than a season outdoors. Fleece either gets ripped to shreds or covered in pests.  I have tried putting it through the washing machine but it didn't come out very clean.


I am certainly guilty of using plastic pots, modules and seed trays.  I scrub them for re-use of they are unbroken, and that's a chore and a half, usually done in the winter with frozen fingers.  Any unusable pots just go into the bin, which in effect means landfill.  Ripped netting and other stuff that comes in rolls, also has to go in the bin if it's beyond re-use, as there is no alternative for disposal.  netting is of special concern as it is likely to enmesh birds' legs or get into the ocean even.


So what do you do?
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arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Use of plastic in the garden.
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2019, 11:59:05 pm »
Plastic, in what-ever form, is such an amazing invention/product.  Oil-derived plastics are going to be produced and remain in use for yonks yet:  we are (aren't we ?) totally plastic dependent already. 
Strip the plastics out of one's car and what do you have ?  -  a Land Rover Defender  :D .  Actually even a LR D would be a skeleton vehicle without plastic. 

So what do I do? 

I consider the options and, if I can't find a practical alternative, I go for the plastic option without mental turmoil.  Where possible, I try to use recycled/recyclable plastic, but that option is not always available. 

The trick will be the on-going development and adoption of plastics that can be more readily recycled.
 
Why so much packaged food still comes in black trays (which are rejected here for recycling) is beyond my ken though! 
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 12:10:51 am by arobwk »

Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Use of plastic in the garden.
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2019, 06:29:07 am »
Pots and trays can be terracotta or wood. Most of mine are plastic and where I have use wooden trays and troughs I normally add a layer of plastic for water retention.
It's been brought home to me over the weekend: I made a new veg bed out of cardboard, bits of old wood and previous occupants compost... it dates back over 40 years and had a trail of plastic excavated through its layers. I'm the beginning there was terrecotta pots and the only plastic was ruminants of a few toys. Later there were polystyrene and plastic pot reminants and plant tags. I'm sure it was added accidentally but over the decades concntrated down. I'd like to get rid of it from my garden, not sure of practicallities. Using card board and wood chips for mulch. My husband won't have landscaping mulch on the fields after growing strawberries 20 odd years ago and there's still reminants around.
Packaging of fruit and veg in shops every week makes me so sad. I'd BAN it tomorrow.

pgkevet

  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Use of plastic in the garden.
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2019, 07:55:04 pm »
As it goes i was also thinking about this the other day. If gov wasn't so useless then they could/should just ban all non-recyclable packaging with 1 yr notice and all non-biodegradebale packaging (except for ally and glass) within 3-4 yrs. There are already alternatives from simply cardboard, waxed paper, cellophane and the like. Aluminium is very recyclable. But then you need the courage to say the same for all the other fibres like polyester, nylon etc and go back to jute, cotton, hessian, silk, linen, bamboo and wool.


The political will isn't there to upset trade partners and big business back-handers.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Use of plastic in the garden.
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2019, 09:37:27 pm »
As it goes i was also thinking about this the other day. If gov wasn't so useless then they could/should just ban all non-recyclable packaging with 1 yr notice and all non-biodegradebale packaging (except for ally and glass) within 3-4 yrs. There are already alternatives from simply cardboard, waxed paper, cellophane and the like. Aluminium is very recyclable. But then you need the courage to say the same for all the other fibres like polyester, nylon etc and go back to jute, cotton, hessian, silk, linen, bamboo and wool.


The political will isn't there to upset trade partners and big business back-handers.


Actually cotton is pretty evil stuff, in spite of being natural.  Huge amounts of water are needed to grow and process cotton (I believe it's the most water-heavy crop grown), large quantities of artificial fertilisers are used to grow it, it has to be bleached before dyeing, and so on. 
I think there is a HUGE potential for the use of wool.  Wool grows on sheep whether you intend it to or not, and has to be shorn anyway, wool is self regenerating as long as we continue to eat sheep meat, and it comes mainly in natural white so no bleaching. In spite of what the naysayers propound, sheep are easy on the environment, at least when they are grazed extensively and not kept indoors and grain fed.  Wool can be worn in cool and hot climates, in fine suiting materials and other lightweight clothing, as well as cosier fabric needed for colder areas.
We certainly used to cope with shopping with nothing more that paper bags and Mum's string bag which she carried in her handbag, then dangled from her bicycle handlebars when full.  No need for single use plastic trays, bags etc.
I think one of the big difficulties with simply proclaiming that all non-recyclable plastics are banned from sale with a year's notice (which would be great), is how lazy we have become as a nation.  I don't think that applies to all countries, but in Britain it is the case. Remembering to take your own bags to the shops with you, when for a few pennies you can buy plastic bags.  Having to wash your vegetables and prepare your salads before you eat, when you can just buy food all prepared and sold in plastic - grated cheese  ???  for heaven's sake  :poo:  how lazy is that?


There was a time when we were all told we had to use public transport and not own cars, because we were about to reach 'peak oil', so the internal combustion engine was not sustainable.  But no-one would do that, we have to have our cars as we have become so used to driving everywhere, and travelling large distances, so now we run them on biofuel, grown at the expense of crops, when we can't feed the world.


It's all part of the bigger picture, which has culminated in Climate Change, and making our Earth filthy and polluted.  :rant: :furious: :rant: :furious: :rant:  Don't let me get started on the huge ring of junk left encircling our planet from our use of Space.


Back to the garden, I do use terracotta pots for flowers etc, but I don't find them easy to use for veg growing, nor using wooden trays, unless as you say Steph Hen you use plastic to line them.  Also I can no longer carry a pile of heavy terracotta pots, whereas plastic pots are lightweight.  Although I use plastic pots, I haven't actually bought any for at least 20 years, when I stocked up with a bulk buy, still there to refresh the washed pots when some are broken.
What did gardeners of the past use to keep weeds down?  Just hard work presumably, but now when plastic sheeting is available for peanuts, we take the easy way, not surprisingly.


The garden is as good a place to begin as any  :garden:  (I hope that's a metal watering can emoji man is using  ;D )
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 09:40:32 pm by Fleecewife »
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Use of plastic in the garden.
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2019, 12:41:41 pm »
I have a feeling all non essential should be massively taxed/banned/phased out.

For example: the drinks industry. Just drink water (like . If there were public fountains/stand pipes and anything else is a real luxury/treat; read Christmas/birthday or save up for a bottle of pop or wine for a treat. How much packaging, landfill, obesity, land and chemicals and C for growing the corn, soil erosion, sugar, fruit, transport, refrigeration, rotten kids teeth, etc, would this do away with? Or keep it because fruit shoots and cans of relentless taste nice..?

See the cut flower industry - I'd draw a line through, or at least aim to phase out International trade in cut flowers - the land, resources, chemicals, machines, refrigeration, transportation, packaging and cellophane, to look absolutely beautiful for a week and then go in the compost... We do not need this.  Seem harsh? Unrealistic? Socialist?

Get this, if we keep going, we're f$#~%d, there is no harsher than that. Change will not be: "so now we refrigerate to 5'C instead of 3'C"  Or using corn based cellophane to wrap the flowers - These are resources we do not have. 




Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Use of plastic in the garden.
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2019, 05:00:59 pm »
I'm totally with you Steph Hen.  When I see targets such as 'carbon emissions will be reduced to 50% by 2050, or whatever, I do despair.  The damage by then will be irreversible. We have seen how those in charge drag their feet until they reach the deadline and beyond, and that will happen with climate change too. With a certain major political leader denying that climate change is real, and plenty of folk actually believe him, we are dragging that large proportion of the population behind us like a huge drag net.
I have noticed that it is older folk like me, and younger folk like my grandchildren who are for vast changes to be made, and quickly, whereas my childrens' generation don't seem to have the time or inclination to take notice.  Or maybe that's my family.

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Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Use of plastic in the garden.
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2019, 07:37:00 pm »
I have noticed that it is older folk like me, and younger folk like my grandchildren who are for vast changes to be made, and quickly, whereas my childrens' generation don't seem to have the time or inclination to take notice.  Or maybe that's my family.


I reckon you aren't far wrong Fleecewife.  Of course there are so many folk between the youngest generation and older folk who are obviously worried about climate warming/environmental issues also and doing things and making a noise about it, but ... there are so many folk in the tweeny generations who have no conception of a life without private transport or fridges for example (just 2 things many now take for granted).  I have a personal memory of the time when most folk in the UK did not own a car (much-less two or three!) and managed without a fridge.  Goodness me, how was life possible !??
« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 07:43:25 pm by arobwk »

Alex_

  • Joined Jul 2016
Re: Use of plastic in the garden.
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2019, 10:13:34 am »
I have tried moving away from plastics by using a soil blocker to start seeds and recently i am using wooden raised beds.
Some things are unavoidable  because i use hard plastics for my hydroponic systems. Hard plastics do last a long time but when they are broken  i don't think they can be recycled. I hope this is off set by the water cycling and reuse used by the hydro systems and the bio nutrients i use from manure, worm castings, comfrey and nettle.

In the past i used plastic planters to grow strawberries because terracotta is more expensive.

Maybe more research should be done into this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pestalotiopsis_microspora


The problem i have found with public transport is it is too expensive. It costs £4 to go across town so it is cheaper to use my car. I live in a commuting town and to go to London by train costs £5k and up a year to commute.

pgkevet

  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Use of plastic in the garden.
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2019, 09:10:28 pm »
A lot is to do with the way gov and others compartmentalise money and taxes without any correlated thinking and the rampant consumerism promoted for 'globalisation' and the nonsense of believing that GDP must go up. It only has to due to gov borrowing on vanity projects and because of their above failures to reduce the value of the outstanding loans. We owe nearly £30K per head of population in national debt. It costs the price of HS2 per year to service. Or to put it another way to feather the nests of 'their' friends.

We outsource expensive projects because it's cheaper to have made abroad - with no consideration for the costs of supporting our unemployed because of it, the increase in borrowing to pay for it or the loss of technical skills by not doing it. Oh, and because eu rules state we have to.

We encourage a culture of 'busy lives' so folk have to rush everywhere getting little done in the process and stressing themselves as well as modern ideas of 'just in time' sourcing so we have fleets of logistics HGV's clogging roads. A bit more laid back, slower speed is cheaper to power, more use of goods trains, heck even use the canals...


Folk wonder about the death of the high street.. simply why pay high fuel charges and high parking charges and battle through traffic and then shop or only one or two days. Most of us remember the Saturday shopping and market and making sure you had the basics 'cos sunday and wednesday afternoons were closed.

I was in Prague a few years back. They made a decision after the velvet revolution not to knock Prague about to make car-parks so if you do find a parking spot then ya don't move it unless you really have to. the trams are cheap and frequent as are the trains...so folk use them. Heck it'd probably be worth gov making all public transport free (well fee in the sense you pay via taxes instead) and a simple frequent service (assuming they have a brain to organise it when there's a risk of falling leaves). Then  folk don'lt bother to use cars  because we stop making bypasses and widening roads and anyway all cars have a 60mph speed limiter.

Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Use of plastic in the garden.
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2019, 01:13:18 pm »
Pgkevet how do we fix it?

pgkevet

  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Use of plastic in the garden.
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2019, 03:46:47 pm »
Pgkevet how do we fix it?


Two choices


a) vote me in as dictator


or


b) ban take-away coffee and smart phones, half the number of MP's , reduce the house of Lords to 100 peers and make all politicians financially responsible for their decisions.

Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Use of plastic in the garden.
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2019, 05:01:35 pm »
Great, so you have a plan. I’ll vote for you. Please would you mind standing?

DavidandCollette

  • Joined Dec 2012
Re: Use of plastic in the garden.
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2019, 06:11:12 pm »
Interesting series of programmes on radio 4 some time ago. CEO of Riverford Organics would prefer to use plastic boxes for distribution as they last longer and are cheaper and less politics than cardboard! Also the three of the programme was that all plastic is recyclable it's just that the money men can't see the market. Btw I'm not advocating the use of plastic. Just worry sometimes when these things become trendy, we lose sight of the real facts

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Use of plastic in the garden.
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2019, 11:50:25 pm »
Some of the big recycling ideas end with micro plastic beads, which are then turned into something else.  Then we see that one of the big dangers is....micro plastics which are getting into birds and animals guts, via the oceans. These micro plastics are often found on beaches.  I can't help wandering how much of the recycled beads cut out the middle man and just goes straight into the oceans, following accidental spills etc.  One of the experimental uses for micro plastics is road surfaces - the least bit of erosion of the road and the micro plastics would reach the ocean by way of the drainage system.
Am I imagining things here or is that a possibility?


It's more the single use then toss plastics which are the worst offenders, D&C.  If the veg boxes are being washed and reused many times, then finally recycled, like my flower pots once someone invents a way to make the black ones visible to the recycling robots, that is a good option, as you say. It is often mentioned that the method of recycling of plastics should be built into the manufacturing process, so articles are produced which can be recycled readily, even if that means relevant R&D to develop both sides of the equation; manufacture and recycling.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2019, 11:52:27 pm by Fleecewife »
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Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

 

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