What Are We Going to Do With All Those Soil Bags?
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Have you ever wondered what happens to all those bags that come through our community each season, filled with soil mediums? There is a recycling symbol on most of the bags, but, alas, they end up in landfills.
The local transfer station and other waste haulers did separate them for recycling in years past, but that stopped when policies called Green Fence were enacted in China (where most of our recyclables end up) and the market shifted for the type of plastic (LDPE4) that most soil bags are made of. Further, the bags were too contaminated (with soil!) to be dealt with on an industrial scale with the current technology.
Over the summer, a small group of people in SoHum have worked on getting the bags to a acceptable level of cleanliness, and although we’ve figured out a way, I cannot seem to find anywhere for them to go (besides: landfill). The LDPE4 plastic is a very low quality plastic, and there is virtually no market for it. Which is great, in a way! It is true that this plastic is basically worthlessaside fro “single use,” so now we can move on!
I invite you to call the companies that you buy soil from and let them know we’re on to them; that their product is not sustainable, and we’d like them to make a change. Can they take the recycling symbol off their packaging? Can they help collect and deliver bags to the few markets that do exist for recycling LDPE4 on the scale we use it? Can they look for alternative packaging?
I’m including contact info here for three companies. Share this information, and encourage your buddies to make a phone call to one or more of the companies that they buy from, asking them to think about their product’s environmental impact, both inside the bag and the bag itself.
Oh, and take a soil building workshop, if you dont already have the skills needed to keep the soil you bought this year healthy and productive for years to come. Reduce your overhead and the impact of your garden on many levels!
Let’s continue to ask companies to look at alternatives. In the meantime,) I’ll continue calling them to talk individually about what their needs are, and dig up a few leads on a new type of packaging that I’m hopeful we will all see very soon.
Yours in a Greener Tomorrow,