Can I recycle ... plastic plant pots?
As spring planting season closes, home gardeners may find themselves with a lot of plastic trays, pots, wrappers and tags. Most plant trays and pots are made from plastic — usually high-density polyethylene (plastic No. 2), polypropylene (plastic No. 5) or polystyrene (plastic No. 6), all of which are recyclable in L.A.'s blue bin.
Plastic plant pots that are marked “compostable” cannot be recycled in the blue bin because they contaminate the other plastics. Nor can they be composted in the green bin because they take too long to break down. Compostable plastic pots must be thrown in the trash or composted in home composters.
Organic plant pots that can be planted directly into the ground are usually ringed with plastic. If marked with a recycling symbol, those plastic wrappers can be placed in the blue bin.
The plastic tags that identify plants and sometimes provide care instructions are recyclable, but because of their small size, they should be placed in a used plastic bag before being placed in the blue bin.
Any dirt left in the plastic plant cups or on the tags should be wiped off or knocked out before they are placed in the blue bin. A spokesman for L.A.'s Bureau of Sanitation says dirt is one of the top unwanted materials in the blue bin because it contaminates recyclables in the bin and decreases their value.
Many nurseries and garden centers, including Armstrong, Lowe's and Home Depot, will take back plastic pots and recycle them.
Because policies and recommendations can vary from city to city, each week we ask a sampling of officials from various municipalities to weigh in. Keep reading to find out if I can recycle plant pots, trays and tags in ...
Burbank: No in curbside program. Plastic pots, wrappers and tags can be dropped in the mixed plastics bin at the Burbank Recycle Center.
Glendale: Plastic pots with recycling numbers, yes. Compostable plastic pots, no. Plastic wrappers, yes. Plastic tags, yes.
Long Beach: Plastic pots with recycling numbers, yes. Compostable plastic pots, no. Plastic wrappers, no. Plastic tags, no.
Los Angeles: Plastic pots with recycling numbers, yes. Compostable plastic pots, no. Plastic wrappers, yes. Plastic tags, yes, if wrapped in bag.
Riverside: Plastic pots with recycling numbers, wrappers and tags, yes. Compostable plastics, green bin.
Santa Monica: Plastic pots with recycling numbers, yes. Compostable plastics, no. Plastic wrappers, no. Plastic tags, no.
Torrance: Yes, if clean and marked with recycling symbol.
Ventura: Plastic pots with recycling numbers, yes. Compostable plastic pots, no. Plastic wrappers and tags, no.
-- Susan Carpenter
Photo: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times