Gardeners are natural recyclers. If you’ve been gardening for years, you probably have a working compost pile full of food scraps and compostable materials. This is one of the best ways to recycle in your garden because it gives back to the earth and creates food for growing plants.
However, gardening with recycled materials doesn’t just include composting leftovers. Many gardeners enjoy incorporating unique materials in their garden design such as old bathtubs, sinks, furniture, pallets, tires, and even shoes. Recycled gardening is a great way to keep junk out of landfills while also creating a beautiful space you can enjoy with friends, or on your own. So go ahead, curl up with a nice cup of tea, and check out these fun and useful recycle garden ideas.
1. Paper Cups
You don’t need fancy pots to start your little seedlings. If you take a look around your home, you might just find a dozen different options for starting your seeds. One great way that actually holds up for a while is paper cups. Make sure they are unwaxed so they compost better, poke a small hole in the bottom for drainage, and then they are good to go. If you don’t keep paper cups around your house or don’t want to purchase any, check with your local coffee shop for discarded cups and pick up a few coffee grounds to add to your compost pile while you’re at it.
2. Toilet Paper Rolls
Seedlings are sensitive and some don’t do well when they are transplanted into the ground because it disturbs their roots. Toilet paper rolls provide a great solution because the plant doesn’t need to be removed from the roll when it comes time to plant your seedlings in the ground.
3. Sinks and Bathtubs
They’re commonplace in a home, but in a garden—not so much. Despite their unconventional nature, tubs, sinks, and even buckets make a great addition to any garden and can serve a variety of purposes. Gardening with recycled materials might include repurposing an old sink or tub by sinking it into the ground to make a small pond and attract bug-catching toads and frogs to your garden. You can dress up your makeshift pond with some beautiful water plants, or forgo the water altogether and simply fill the bottom with some gravel, top it with soil, and you have a wonderful planter ready for growing herbs, flowers, or whatever else your heart desires.
4. Plastic Bakery Container
When you go to the store to pick up your weekly cookies and cupcakes (let’s be honest, we all need more of them in our lives), you’re left behind with a plastic clamshell container that you probably toss or recycle. However, when seed planting season comes around you’ll wish you had saved them. These little containers are perfect for starting seeds that need a nice humid environment because the lid helps trap some of the heat and warmth that help little seedlings grow. There are even tutorials to show you how it can be done!
Another great way to garden with recycled materials is to use wooden pallets. The options for pallets really are endless depending on how handy you are and how creative you want to get. One of the easiest ways to recycle in your garden with pallets is to use them to create a compost bin. Simply form a square bin by standing the pallets upright on their sides and secure them to one another with garden wire and a pair of pliers. Presto! You have a great compost bin with the added benefit of airflow through the gaps in the planks.
Some other great uses for recycling in your garden with pallets are to use them as planters. If you’re really handy, you might even consider making some garden furniture out of leftover pallets and throwing some cushions on top for comfort.
6. Large Water Bottles
Not everyone is lucky enough to have a greenhouse, and purchasing the materials to make one yourself can be very costly. Instead, recycle in your garden by using plastic water bottles or larger water dispensers (the kind you’d find in a water cooler at work) as a mini greenhouse or cloche for your plants. Simply cut off the bottom of your containers and fit the top over the plant to keep it safe from cool weather and nasty bugs. Leave the top open so the plant gets enough air and use clear containers so your plants get enough light. Remove the cloche when your plant is big enough to touch the sides of the bottle.
Gardening with recycled materials can really make you consider what’s possible when it comes to gardening. Some fun and unique items to use in the garden are tires. They already have natural drainage, so a small layer of gravel topped with soil makes an excellent planter for your garden vegetables or flowers. Don’t be afraid to get creative as well. Although tires only come in black, that doesn’t mean you have to keep them that way. Paint them, get different sizes, and play with different arrangements to add a fun and interesting element to your garden space.
8. Eggs and Egg Cartons
While you may have started your seedlings in egg cartons before, you might not have considered that the eggs themselves could be recycled in your garden as their own little planters. There are even instructions on how to use eggshells to start your seeds. When they’re ready you’ll simply need to crack the shell a bit and pop them in the ground.
Aside from looking super cute, shoes—especially rubber boots—make excellent pots for plants. You can line them along with your porch, incorporate them in your garden, or even hang them from a fence. However, you use them, gardening with recycled materials like shoes is a great way to extend their life by turning them into something useful.
Do you still have that flea market find you shoved in your garage last year? Us too. Which is why we love the idea of incorporating furniture into garden designs. An old dresser can be used as a creative alternative to a traditional planter, or a ladder can be reused as a decorative piece and hold pots. Gardening with recycled materials is the perfect excuse to get creative and have fun.
Gardening with recycled materials is a great way to save money on gardening supplies, do something good for the environment, and have some fun in the process. One way you can help protect the environment is through Spring Power & Gas. At Spring Power & Gas, our mission is to bring clean, sustainable energy that powers your home and protects our planet. Start doing more for the earth with these recycling in the garden ideas and by signing up for Spring Power & Gas.