Recycled and Recyclable Pots and Trays

At Brookside Nursery we are continually looking at ways to offer economical and sustainable solutions to grow and deliver our plug plants, from the packaging your plants arrive in, to the recycling ability of the plastic items we sell. We work closely with our suppliers so that we can offer the very best from our packaging and products, ensuring the highest of quality with as little impact to the environment as possible.

Grey (and Taupe) is the new black

At the present time, unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult to avoid plastic use altogether when buying plants and transporting them. Although black plastic containers and pots we previously sold were made from recycled materials and fully recyclable, the issue that many households came across is that it is hard to recycle black pots and trays through the normal household waste recycling system.. This has resulted in pots and trays going to landfill as scanners in recycling centres cannot detect the black colour.

Although this black plastic is recycled widely within the horticultural industry, we wanted to find a way of making this recycling more accessible for our customers too. To this end, we have researched widely to present new and sustainable solutions to our customers.


The switch from black to detectable grey/taupe was integrated in 2020 for our retail pots and trays. Our manufacturers have been working to find the right mix to make these just as strong and durable as the black plastic varieties, with the added benefit that these can be detected by the scanners in recycling centres, meaning they can be put into your household recycling bin with no need for recyclable waste to end up in landfill sites any longer.

Our cell plant trays and carry trays will be grey in colour and are made from recycled Polystyrene PS (6) and our pots are Taupe in colour and are made from Polypropylene PP (5).

Shop here for recyclable pots and trays

Reusing old pots and trays is always advisable, where possible, before recycling. We recommend using a specific garden natural cleaner, like our our Brookside Nursery Natural Cleaner, for cleaning and disinfecting your used pots ready for their next use.

Resource-saving Eco plant pots.

These new eco-blue pots are a welcome extension to our range of pots. What makes these pots different is not only are they made with recycled material; the plastic used to make the pots is 100% from household recycling waste.

Other pots, although made from recycled material, are manufactured from  un-specified recycled materials, so can be made up of materials that are recycled for the first time, anything from car bumpers to fridges etc. Our NEW blue pots help create a closed loop recycling model, using household plastic waste again and again.    

Packaging for our mail order plants

Our product packaging can come in several forms:  These are -

Our clear and green plastic Product Packaging is produced, as much as possible, from used PET (1) plastic. The benefits of this is that PET packaging can be recycled again and again. PET is lightweight and strong and is energy efficient to produce, without having to compromise on the quality, so that we can get your plants to you in tip top condition.

Some of our smaller plug plants will arrive in black plastic cell trays.  These trays have been made from recycled materials and with renewable solar energy .We are working  closely with our suppliers and their manufacturers in trying to get these made into more recyclable material for consumers and not just within the horticultural industry.

Other packaging we might use includes -

Bubble wrap – the bubble wrap we use is made from Polyethylene PE-HD (2) and other additives from household waste which has been recycled and is fully recyclable when used. Packing tape is not currently recyclable.

Cardboard – (see below).

Packaging for the Postal System

We have looked at sourcing the most efficient and responsible way of getting your items wrapped to withstand the postal system and out to you in the best condition, with as little unrecyclable materials as possible.

When sourcing our packaging materials, we make sure that the cardboard boxes and brown paper have been made (at least partly) with recycled materials and all are 100% recyclable when used.

Other packaging includes bubble envelopes and grey mailing bags.

Our bubble envelopes are made from sustainable paper and are fully recyclable (full instructions on the package to show how to separate the plastic from the paper).

Our grey mailing bags, we have sourced, are strong and durable.  They are made partly with recycled material, which is also fully recyclable.

Recycling Within the Business

We work closely with our suppliers to recycle as much of the plastic that comes into the business, including all the black plastic. These are sent back after we have used them to our manufacturers to be reused or recycled to make different items.

What’s more, our manufacturers are always looking at ways to cut emissions from the manufacturing processes using solar renewable energy and by using the heat energy generated during the manufacturing process to heat the factory and offices.

Any cardboard boxes we receive in the business we try to reuse where possible, otherwise they are flattened and recycled along with all other normal recycling waste.

Our Promise to you.

Our promise is to continuously look at ways to improve our impact on the environment, from sourcing our product ranges to finding new economical ways to deliver your goods.

In Autumn 2019 we sent out our catalogues (which are fully recyclable) for the first time without the plastic sheath and with the positive feedback we have had from our customers, will continue to do so going forward.

We are also working on improving the lighting within our packing areas, switching to more energy efficient LED lighting and will continue this throughout the business in future. We have also invested in sensor lighting within our staff room, so lights are not on unnecessarily when the room is not in use.

We are also conscious of the bigger picture. By working with you, our customers, to get your products to you in the least amount of deliveries, we appreciate being able to send orders out in one delivery, whilst being aware that sometimes this can be difficult with potting-on agendas or plants not being available to send out.

This helps us all be mindful by reducing our carbon footprint and packaging waste.  This also means that you don’t have to wait at home more than necessary for your items, letting you get on with the fun bit, making your garden beautiful!

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