Friday, May 7, 2010

It's all about the pots

Yesterday had a tremendous day c/o Loblaw Companies visiting Linwell Gardens and Freeman Herbs. We got a sneak peak of the tremendous new product lines for the Lawn and Garden program. And, as always, were spoiled with plants to take home to trial and report on how they do in our gardens.

Highlights of the new products coming to a store near you include a new $30 all inclusive water garden - you get a tub, a planted container of water plants & all you need to do is add water & one goldfish; new SunPatients that really will take heat & abuse; Calliope Geraniums that bloom like crazy and are a great dark dark red (my mum worked with these last year & they flowered for so long, she was ready to throw them off the balcony of her apt); a couple of potato vines that don't have domination on their mind; cute plants that match their pots; a whack of new herbs in combination pots with recipes;

shrubs planted in coir pots that can be put directly in the soil

and a blast from the past of their best (and a few new must have) perennials including 'Summer Sun' Echinacea (starts red-orange and finished gold) and 'Route 66' Coreopsis which is red and yellow.

All that was terrific, but I think the biggest story of the day was their recycling program. Loblaw Companies took back and recycled 1.2MM lbs of plastic pots last year. They set up a program to encourage homeowners to bring back their pots - all their pots - no matter where they came from.

At the stores, the pots are thrown on the empty growers racks to be picked up the next time the growers make their deliveries. Back at the nurseries, the pots are sorted according to type of plastic.

They are compacted, bailed and then shipped to the recycling plant. Notice they even take the hangers from the hanging pots.

Who knew trays could get so flat?

The plastics are used to make next year's President's Choice pots. The only pots that can't be recycled for pots are chipped and sold to someone who makes fence posts.

Now, 1.2MM lbs sounds terrific. The only problem is that Loblaw Companies needs 400MM lbs of plastic for their annual product runs. So for those of you in Canada, don't throw away your plastic pots - take them back to the Loblaw Companies garden centres that sell the President's Choice products.

And while you're at it, have a look at the nursery product - I dare you to walk out empty handed!


Barry said...

How is it that Loblaws will take back pots, but most garden centres and nurseries turn their noses up, or complain that it means a trip to the landfill? Kinda makes one wonder why more and more people are shopping for their plants at the supermarkets doesn't it? Time for the nurseries and garden centres to step up to the plate and ensure that they maintain their client base.

Barbarapc said...

Barry, it is such an important issue. No doubt Loblaws was able to do a bit of arm twisting to get both the growers to be part of the solution. There's certainly an investment on their part - they need the bailing equipment and someone to run the machinery and do the sorting. I think at some point everyone is going to be forced to take back their pots - just like wine & beer bottles. It's simply unsustainable to continue throwing all this stuff away.