PRZOOM - /newswire/ -
Sumner, WA, United States, 2011/11/22 - One innovative company is introducing rEarth, a line of 100% recycled flowerpots made from water bottles. Since only about 25% of plastic water bottles get recycled, the company hopes their new line will help raise awareness and encourage recycling.
If you’ve ever bought a plant at a garden center or grocery store, chances are it came in a plastic pot. Stores and greenhouses prefer plastic because it’s clean, inexpensive, and durable. However, many of these flowerpots contain no recycled material and cannot be recycled, meaning they end up contributing to the tons of plastic waste generated in the US every day—and worsening America’s oil dependence. But a Washington company is aiming to change that in a big way with its new line of 100% recycled flowerpots.
For the past two years, McConkey Company has been working to develop rEarth, a new line of plant containers made from water bottles (a plastic called rPET). Since only about one-quarter of plastic beverage containers are currently being recycled in the US, the company hopes their new product line will help raise awareness and encourage conversations about recycling.
If you’re like 54% of Americans, you drink bottled water regularly. Although it’s no secret that plastic bottle waste damages our environment, bottled water sales continue to rise while recycling rates remain stagnant. Once empty, most bottles get thrown away—even though their plastic (#1 PET) is one of the easiest for recyclers to process. An estimated 60 million water bottles enter US landfills each day, and will remain there, intact, for centuries. On the other hand, a bottle that gets recycled can be used to make a variety of products, including clothing, carpet, and reusable shopping bags.
Unfortunately, many of those clothes and shopping bags are currently made overseas. “We have these water bottles that Americans recycle, but then they’re put on an ocean container to China, where they turn it into consumer products. And then they sell it back to us,” said Stina McConkey, McConkey’s COO. Exporters ship over 500 million pounds of American recycled water bottles and other containers to China every year. “So we asked ourselves, can we keep this valuable material at home – and keep jobs in the US by turning them into flower pots? After working with local recyclers, it turns out we could.”
Since it’s made from PET, rEarth can be curbside recycled in many cities and counties, whereas traditional containers must be brought back to the store for recycling, if they can be recycled at all.
Not all counties take recycled PET containers other than water bottles, but that is changing. “Cities and counties are looking at this as a way to strengthen local economies, because more recycled plastic creates jobs at local recyclers and manufacturers,” said Derek Moeller, McConkey president. “Many counties that only took water bottles before are now taking other containers as well, such as flower pots. It’s all based on demand by consumers and manufacturers. We’re helping build up that demand.”
rEarth (rEarthPots.com) is currently being trialed in greenhouses across the country, and the containers will begin appearing in select retailers next spring. How can you tell if a flowerpot is rEarth? Just look for a “Recycled Water Bottle” stamp on the side.
McConkey Company is a leading producer and distributor of horticultural goods on the West Coast. The company was founded in 1932 in Sumner, Washington, and has since grown to include branches in Wilsonville, Oregon and Garden Grove, California.