Sustainable Plant Pots – Planting Time

5 Brand Good Reasons to Brush up your terrace & try out these sustainable planters.

 

When I was at a friend’s house during quarantine, she asked me for the name of my plant pots on the terrace. She remembered vaguely they were made from recycled plastic bottles. I could not immediately come up with the brand name.

While she was behind the stove preparing a wonderful gluten free pasta dish with kale, and I pouring ourselves a glass of wine, I googled. I googled both the wine, Norton, and the planters.

I came across something I did not expect: not all wine is vegan! Since this is an article on sustainable planters, the wine thing is next !

As an Introduction: a word on geotextiles

Geotextiles are permeable fabrics which, when used in association with soil, have the ability to separate, filter, reinforce, protect, or drain. Typically made from polypropylene or polyester, geotextile fabrics come in three basic forms:

  • woven (resembling mail bag sacking)
  • needle punched (resembling felt)
  • heat bonded (resembling ironed felt)

The woven one is the one we are after.

The use of geotextiles made from recycled plastic bottles in the industry &  fashion is not new. Polypropylene or polyester, when recycled, maintains the same characteristics. The sports designer fashion brand Patagonia has been using ‘green’ geotextiles for years.

Green Geoplastic vs. plastic

In conventional plastic pots, when the roots of the plants reach the walls of the pot, they grow spirally, with very little branching. They are often intertwined and coiled on themselves. Depending on the type of plant, they can produce a thick main root that does not have a good nutrient absorption capacity.

Conventional pots can also raise the temperature of the earth quite a bit, especially when exposed to growing lights or sunlight.

Macetela manufactures pots made with a porous fabric obtained from the recycling of plastic bottles, known as green geotextile. This causes the phenomenon of air pruning of the roots to be generated.

Air pruning is a technique designed to encourage the plant to grow with a denser root system, thus increasing the absorption of water and nutrients, allowing the plant to grow faster and healthier in a reduced volume of soil.

With this technique, when the root tips reach the edge of and are exposed to relatively dry air, the apical cells at the root tips are dehydrated and air pruned. This stimulates the growth of secondary roots that spread throughout the land until they reach the walls again, are exposed to the air and are pruned again, further stimulating root growth.

The overall effect of this technique is to create a well-developed root system that is distributed in a balanced way throughout.

Healthy and highly branched root structures allow the plant to absorb more water and nutrients and thus accelerate growth and increase its overall health.

It generates a healthy and airy growth environment through your pores.
It prevents the circular growth of the roots, increasing their density, thus favoring the absorption of water and nutrients.
It has natural drainage, does not require stones or leca.
Protects roots from extreme temperatures throughout the year.
It is light and strong, easy to carry.
Resists UV rays, does not heat up in the sun, is reusable and washable.

Brands using green geotextile

Macetela  (Argentina )  Macetela

Macetela produces a variety of pots from 4 to 250 liters ( 1000 cups ) . There are also hanging envelopes for vertical gardens and double railings for balconies. The largest model is used to build vegetable gardens on terraces and roofs.

Macetela pots come in black, red, green, and grey. Some smaller models come in orange too.

They sell in Chile, Paraguay and of course in Argentina through wholesalers and garden centres. But since the product is so light it can easily be shipped worldwide.

My plants thrive in black Macetelas. To my knowledge the company Macetela was the first in Argentina to introduce planters from geotextil made from recycled plastic bottles. For reasons here explained, they use the woven green geotextile.

GreenSubmarine, Greenpoint

are 2 more local brands with a small all-black variety of plant pots made of recycled plastic bottles.

Durability by Design

Belgium is not a newcomer when it comes to eco design. I grew up in a country where the environment was of no concern. But that changed in the late eighties. I mentioned elsewhere on these pages that if we were to consume like the average Flemish do ( Flemish are people living or born in the northern part of Belgium, like me ), we would need 7 planets.

“Or six more planets than we have today. “

The ‘Marcel‘ is a showcase of Belgian eco-design. We shipped Belgian eco design, decorative or practical objects, we, sometimes wrongly, thought we would not find in Argentina.

Here are 2 more examples of how eco-creative Belgians can be:

Ecopots ( Belgium )

Their Mission

“At Ecopots we use recycled plastics to produce our pots. But that’s only half the story. In our philosophy, durability is more than reusing materials. It’s also about designing and producing products that are not only sturdy, frost resistant and break proof, but that are also timeless in their design and use of colours. Beautiful today, tomorrow and in ten years time. Because we believe the most durable products are those you don’t want – or have to – replace every year.”

Scandinavian design

Ecopots follows the Scandinavian design philosophy. In short, this philosophy is about creating a calm and clutter free home as a counter balance to hectic and stressful daily lives. It is being characterized by clean and simple lines, minimalism and the use of natural colours and materials.   

The proof of the pudding is in the tasting ….

Colours

Ecopots are available in six different and timeless colours (availability may differ per country): grey, blue grey, dark grey, white grey, French taupe and terracotta. Every pot has a unique, characteristic and handmade finish that makes even a plastic flowerpot look natural. Click the colour buttons to discover the colours.

Ecopots works with resellers in over 26 countries . They also do standard shipping to The Netherlands and Luxembourg. Orders above 75 € ( more or less 83 USD ) are shipped for free.

There are more techniques for making sustainable planters, 2 are featured here. This time the plant pots are not made of recycled plastic, but

The Substrate of growing oyster mushrooms

Permafungi is based in Brussels. Three young engineers founded the company back in 2013 with the purpose of growing oyster mushrooms on the substrate of coffee grounds and straw. After growing their oyster mushrooms, part of the remaining substrate is used to create a durable and biodegradable material. Innovation never stops at PermaFungi!

At PermaFungi, we are constantly innovating in order to add new steps to our circular project. The next is particularly ambitious: transforming champost (our residue from the culture of oyster mushrooms) into a sustainable and biodegradable material. How? 'Or' What ? By adding mycelium.

Recent research shows that mycelium (fungus seed) can be transformed into a material capable of replacing plastic - the myco-material. This material produces ten times less carbon dioxide (CO2) and uses about eight times less energy than the production of polystyrene foam.

Made by hand and without artificial processes, the mushroom material remains completely natural. Its qualities in terms of resistance, impermeability and fire resistance are interesting for creating quality products while being compostable.

Our challenge is twofold. On the one hand, it is a question of including the manufacturing process of this new material in our circular project and, on the other hand, of creating products with high added value, alternatives to plastic. There are many potential applications: in design, insulation and packaging.

Permafungi took up the challenge to

  •  include the manufacturing process of this new material in their circular project
  •  create products with high added value, alternatives to plastic.

The possibilities of myco-material are immense: lights, flower or plant pots, decorative objects, packaging, building bricks, acoustic panels.

In November 2016 they launched their LUMIFUNGI project. They brought Brussels young designer Caroline Pultz in to develop a lamp with the myco-material.  All her designs are custom made.

Click The Making of LUMIFUNGI to watch the process.

 

Rice husk pots which break down as organic fertilizer

How crazy is that !      Evegreen

Still in Europa, Evegreen, Slovenia in collaboration with Nature2Need, Germany create advanced, eco-friendly products for a sustainable future. Through relentless research & development, their products are pushing the limits of bio-degradable polymers – at high quality, amazing performance and truly low costs.

They produce sustainable plants pots you don’t need to worry about contaminating your soil with plastic. In fact, you don’t even need to worry about adding too much fertilizer because Evegreen rice husk pots break down as organic fertilizer.

 

 There are many more creative sustainable solutions to pot your plant out there. I welcome all your suggestions. And as I continue to grow and learn, I will share all with you.

 

My gratitude goes to WealthyAffiliates.

Without their encouragement and technical support

this website would not exist.

2 thoughts on “Sustainable Plant Pots – Planting Time”

  1. Hi and thanks for sharing this. This is a very interesting topic. I recently read an article and saw a documentary that was talking about plastic pollution from microfiber clothing becoming an increasing problem for air and water pollution. There are certain kinds of plastics that break down into microparticles and become so small that they start to be ingested by smaller and smaller marine life. You say that these plant pots made from recycled plastic do not present the danger of plastic pollution of the soil. I guess I am having a challenge reconciling these issues. thanks if you can clarify. Best regards, Andy

    Reply
    • Hi Andy,

      You have a point, it’s still plastic. But it’s plastic saved from the dust bin or the oceans. Recycled plastic put to use. Plastic which creates consumer awareness. Plastic which tells us we can re-put it to use. So as long as we do not return  the recycled plastic to the oceans and recycle in stead of making more, we are off for a very good start. 

      I really hope I somehow managed to convince you.

      Karin

      Reply

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