Sustainability Tips

Simple Ways to Reduce Single-Use Plastics

  1. Bring your own reusable “doggie bag” to restaurants. If you see the wait staff passing out Styrofoam, suggest recyclable packing such as paper clamshells to the manager.
  2. Choose paper over plastic packaging when purchasing food. Choose margarine in a paper box, not a plastic tub, or soap wrapped in paper or not at all.
  3. Bring your own reusable containers and buy food in bulk.
  4. Could you make it yourself?  Homemade bread avoids plastic bread wrappers. Homemade yogurt in reusable containers avoids the little plastic cups.
  5. If you must use sturdy plastic plates and eating utensils, don’t throw them out. Wash them, store them, and use them again.  
  6. In regard to plastic water bottles, ask yourself the following question: Next are they going to bottle air? Don’t be bamboozled. 

Tips to Manage Plastic Plant Pots

What to do with all those plastic pots cluttering the garage and workspace? Some can be reused for seed starts and plants, but over the years one can accumulate hundreds of them.

These local garden centers will repurpose them for you:

  • Howard Pine’s Garden Center (Lawrence)
  • Jackson’s Greenhouse (Topeka)
  • Skinner’s Garden Center (Topeka)
  • Vinland Valley Nursery (Baldwin City) will reuse those initially purchased from them

Another thought

If you are starting from seeds or transplanting seedlings to a bigger container, consider using CowPots (cow manure treated to eliminate odors) or pots made from pulp, paper fiber or coir (coconut fiber). Besides being reasonably priced and readily available at many garden stores, these pots are biodegradable and will reduce transplant shock, as they can go directly into the ground.

A final tip

Avoid peat moss. Not only are peat bogs a unique ecosystem that is being depleted, peatlands are vast carbon sinks which release carbon when the peat is extracted.

Contributed by Margaret Kramar

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