No more plastic pots!


Photo courtesy of Ecoforms 

I subscribe to both Home Magazine and Vegetarian Times, and noticed they both featured Ecoforms, organic biodegradable pots. What’s the odds that two very different magazine would feature the same product?  There must be something to this product.  I have to look into these pots.

The pots are being distributed to retailers all over the United States through Sweetwater Nursery, an organic wholesale nursery in California.  They are made out of grain husk (mostly rice) and natural binding (corn starch, water soluble binders and biodegradable additives). Plastic pots are made out of petroleum products.   In my area in NJ, you can not recycle plastic pots even if they are HPDE.  My county recycling department explained that even though the numbers on the bottom of the pots would lead you to believe that you can recycle it, it is a different type of plastic than soda bottles, which can be recycled.  There aren’t any companies in my area that will re-use the pots to manufacturer another plastic product such as plastic lumber.  You may have the same situation in your state.

In addition, if I could choose between putting my seedlings in plastic which could  leach chemicals into my seedlings or a natural product like Ecoforms, hands down it would be the natural product.    I also find the plastic lightweight pots tear and are not very durable.  As I said before, what do I do with the plastic pots when they fall apart?

Who makes Ecoforms?  I called and spoke to Jed at Sweetwater Nursery about the product.  Jed is David Brown and Elise Lovelay-Brown’s son, the owners of the nursery.  The Browns were concerned about their use of plastic pots in their nursery operation and saw this product in Holland at a trade show.  They formed a relationship with the manufacturing company and are distributing the pots to retailers all over the country. 

In addition, they are using the pots in their own nursery to educate other growers.The pots are made using environmentally friendly practices.  Very little water is used in the binding process, there is very little pollution in the manufacturing process, and all scraps are recycled.  Its only draw back is that the pot will only last for five years under normal conditions.  If you wanted a product to last forever, well that is plastic.  After its life, you can compost them into your yard and the soil will have a PH of 7.

One of my concerns was the reuse of the product.  I was told by growers that they do not re-use their pots for fear of bacteria from the old plant killing the new plant, and disinfecting them would be too costly.   (If they did disinfect them, you have to wonder with what.)  Jed told me that they reuse their pots and do not need to disinfect them.  Any bacteria contamination is so minor, that it would not matter.

The pots range in size between 3 1/2 to 12 inches in diameter and come in six colors.  They come in three different series:  Nova (simple but elegant planter pots), Grower pots (only comes in natural color) and Decor series (different styles of elegant pots).  In addition, they sell saucers and shuttle trays (to carry grower pots).  They are as functional as they are beautiful.

I asked if they plan to import bigger size pots.  Jed told me that the pots could not be made bigger because structurally they would not be able to handle the weight of the dirt and water.  I was a little disappointed since I could envision nice sized planters with petunias and trailing vines outside my front door.

Ecoforms are being distributed by a nursery that uses them.  This gives the product a lot of credibility.  Who else would know better if this product works?  According to the Browns, the pots have excellent heat insulating properties (great for seedlings), suitable for all climates, and are resistant to freezing and thawing, unlike terra cotta pots.  I was told to treat these pots like terra cotta.  Just like terra cotta, Ecoforms are durable but should not be dropped or knocked around.  They will break.

Ecoforms are priced at $4 to $25 depending on the pot you choose.  Right now you have to call (707.566.8133) or email the nursery at to find out a retailer near you.  Since this is the nursery’s busy season, I would suggest you call.

Mother’s Day is coming up next week.  What a perfect gift for your special gardening mom.  Saving the Earth and making your Mom smile.  Priceless. 

Similar Posts:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge