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Thread: recycling pots & flats

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Western Michigan near Muskegon
    Posts
    1,462

    recycling pots & flats

    Hi,

    This past summer when I was at Wallyworld (didn't know it was national nickname!), I seen a big plastic bag of flats and pots in the corner of their greenhouse. I went and asked the garden manager if they just throw them away if I could have them and he said SURE Don't see why not. I could barely get them all in the back of my suzuki samauri. I know it's a little vehicle, but there were 14 flats, 30 5", and 30 #1. That was getting lucky 1 time 1 day. It was towards the end of the season, and I didn't make it back again. The same thing when I went to Meijer's and seen some in the garbage cart. Yup, they gave them to me also. And guess what K-Mart too!

    I am planning on drafting a letter, telling how I would like to pick up their empties, say couple times a week if they'd hold them for me. The three r's should be a good point.

    What do you think?
    Happy Growing,
    Vicki in West. Mich.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Newport, RI/Richmond, RI
    Posts
    70
    Man, I wish I had that ability around here. Anytime I see things like neglected plants or stacks of pots, I ask and am told "We send those things back," or "I don't have that authourity, but if you want to come back Wed. morning..." Even when I ask family and friends to let me know when they have yard waste, I always seem to call 2 days after they took 18 bags to the dump. As for whether your idea will work, you will almost certainly be able to convince them to let you take their empties. I would probably ask them to just put them "out back" somewhere, so I could go collect them at any time of day or night. Also, you may want to make some calls about the same thing to some of the med. sized nurseries. While you have them on the phone, tell them what you are growing, and see if you can arrange a visit to your growing area and their growing area. You may be able to get a few contacts/customers out of the deal.

    Bill Gauch.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    upstate NY zone 4
    Posts
    40
    Vicki On the other hand, If you write a letter to the main office you may trigger a response that there is a market for the used pots and flats and they may set a price for them. since you already have a repore' with the manager of the dept. why not let a sleeping dog lie?
    Mike

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    northeast Tennessee
    Posts
    1,703

    recycling

    I also have gotten pots at Wallyworld and KMart when I worked there. A large fancy nursey near us offered to sell us all their used pots for .02 each. Mostly gallons and larger. What a deal.
    Sometimes you just get lucky. All my friends, family and customers at the farmers market save me their pots and flats. Every little bit helps.
    tennessee sue

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Zone 9a - Gulf Coast
    Posts
    9,934
    Vicki,

    I have gotten all kinds of web cells and trays from Home Depot and Lowes during the early spring when bedding plants and perennials are selling like crazy. Most of the time the workers are relieved when you ask if you can have them for your own use. You see, they don't have to handle them again if you haul them off.

    Occasionally, you will run across an employee who doesn't know if they can be given away. Simply ask them to inquire, and if they are not willing, ask to speak to their manager.

    I have not asked at WalMart or Kmart because I have more than I need at the moment, but I wouldn't hesitate to ask if they were sitting there ready to be hauled off.

    In most cases, you will actually be doing them a favor. An exception to this might be if they have contracted with a company or individual that recycles them.

    Then again, sometimes you might just be dealing with local laws or a manager that is not willing to give anything away.

    I say, go for it and ask them! You never know unless you ask...

    One additional note.... If you are a frequent customer and they recognize your face, they will probably be more likely to try to please you by saying 'YES'. So make your face known and check to see if there are any available often. Make friends with the employees.

    Most of these people recognize me because I always enter the store from that area even if I am there to purchase something at the other end of the store.

    You never know until you ask...
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Western Michigan near Muskegon
    Posts
    1,462
    Thanks All,
    I agree about the letter idea, why not ask with my cart full of stuff I'm buying!

    I did buy 4" pots at one of the large nurseries paid .05 each, but I REALLY needed them. When I first asked the guy at Wallyworld he thought I meant the dead plants, I soon set him straight and he even went and looked in the dumpster, but the suzuki was already full. If they can send them back when they're dead, no wonder they don't care if they take care of them or not!
    Happy Growing,
    Vicki in West. Mich.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    13
    I asked at Meijer's once when there was a boy throwing away the white basket type flats that they sell geraniums in with the dead plants. He said he would have to ask. He came back and said his manager would sell them for 50 cents each. It was trash until they found someone wanted it. I would have to dig them out of the trash ben myself and pay for them. I didn't take any. I went to Home Depot and they gave them to me.

  8. #8

    containers

    Check with your local nurserys that sell to the landscapers in your area.A lot of them provide a bin for them to put there empty containers.I have two such retail/wholesale nurserys that have provided me with 1000's of containers a no charge.They are glad for me to haul them off.I haven't had to buy containers in 1 1/2 yrs.
    Check around I'II bet you'll find some.
    Thanks
    William B. (now if I could only find my nitch,its got to be out there somewhere)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Santee-Cooper Lakes, South Carolina
    Posts
    94
    I am going to post a sign this year offering my retail customers a discount of 10% to recycle their pots, flats, etc. by bringing them back to me. Hope to get pots, flats and repeat sales.

    Jim (Ohio zone 5)
    Jim Lang

  10. #10
    Every Spring I make flyers and walk the neighbourhoods placing the flyers in mail boxes. The flyer has my name and phone number, address and a small brief history. I indicate I will either pick them up or they can drop them off on my porch. Each year I get tons of 3" pots, large pots of every description etc. I indicate on the flyer for individuals to be "environmentally friendly" by recycling their garden pots...it works every year and I've never once bought pots.

    I sterilize them in the dishwasher and it works perfect. Just remember to turn the water temperature down a little for the plastic pots.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Kirbyville,Texas
    Posts
    156
    I hate for you to get in trouble but if the postmaster finds out about that you could pay a nice fine the mail box belongs to them even tho you paid for it . All mail must be stamped.Put a add in a newspaper ,or on bullentin boards at shops. I won't pay for any pots I always swap plants instead. I will in a month swap Lantana and Heather shrubs for 1 gallon use pots. One nursery has offered me there left over used pots for 6 cents each. Do you hear me Rita let you know when it happens.Hope to have some plants to swap out for this deal.
    Gene

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