Buxton Flowerpot Trail organisers call for Government action on plastic waste

The organisers of the Buxton Flowerpot Trail have called for Government action to address the mountain of plastic plant pots lying unused in people’s gardens.

By Ed Dingwall
Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 3:50 pm

This year’s trail was the biggest yet, with more pots redistributed than ever before to create flowerpot people stationed all over town.

That was made possible in the first place by a huge number of people all over the High Peak wanting to donate old plant pots to be reused for the scheme.

Ali Quas-Cohen, artistic director of Funny Wonders, the company which runs the initiative said: “It led us to wonder just how many plant pots there must be out there, stacked up in sheds, greenhouses and corners of gardens. Hoarded with no hope of reuse. A plague of plastic.

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The Buxton Flowerpot Trail is one way to reuse those old pots, but it also highlights a bigger problem.

“Black ones which can’t be recycled. Companies reluctant to collect and clean them due to cost. So the stacks just grow and grow, year on year. They even sell empty ones.”

She added: “Those who have donated pots to the trail are always so happy to have found a use for them. But it would be best if they were not there to be used at all. There are plenty of alternatives so surely the plastic plant pot has had its day.”

The team at Funny Wonders could not find any active campaigns to address the issue, so decided to take it on themselves to write to High Peak MP Robert Largan.

Ali said: “We asked whether plastic plant pots were included as part of the Government’s plans to stop the production of single-use plastics, which most clearly are.

“We received a reply focusing on what is being done in the fight against single-use plastic products and the proposed Plastic Packaging Tax; but, in response to our actual enquiry, further information was required.”

A second letter followed with a response from junior environment minister Rebecca Pow, saying the Government “want to increase the quantity and quality of recyclable material collected, including plastics” and was committe to “work towards all plastic packaging placed on the market being recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025” but added that unless there is an outright ban, as part of a wider strategy, it is “ultimately for businesses to decide what materials they use to supply products to customers”.

Ali said: “For now at least, it looks like the plastic plant pot is here to stay, although hopefully all recyclable by 2025. To all those with stacks in their gardens, please recycle those that you can, return them to your garden centre, if they’ll take them.

“Failing those two options, use them to make flowerpot people for next year’s Buxton Flowerpot Trail and help bring smiles to all those walking past.”

Funny Wonders will soon get to work deconstruct their flowerpot people on the Pavilion Gardens island lake, ready to reuse the pots next year.

In the meantime, Ali said: “Thank you to all those who participated in this year’s trail and those who went to hunt down the creations. Feedback is always helpful for funding applications, so if you have any comments about the trail, please email them to [email protected]

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