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Recycled plastic garden boxes and microplastics in the garden

Plastic is a problem. It's all over the newspapers, internet, magazines, TV, social media: there's too much plastic waste and it's polluting the world.

You also hear a lot about recycled plastic and microplastics.

Microplastics: what are they?

Microplastics are (small) plastic particles that a plastic product sheds. They're usually a result of wear and tear and how the product is used. For example, the biggest source of microplastics is car tires. As you drive, small pieces of rubber eventually wear away and are released into the environment. Another example: plastic clothing that sheds small pieces of plastic in the washing machine or dryer. Those small bits of plastic and rubber are microplastics.

Products that slowly disintegrate when exposed to UV light or salt are sources of microplastics too. Age can also lead to a product breaking down, resulting in - you guessed it - more microplastics. Think of toothpaste and all kinds of cosmetic products, paint, and fertilizer (!).

Animals often mistake those small pieces of plastic for food. They eat them and eventually die. The microplastics make their way up the food chain to us. On top of that, the substances that are often added to plastic, like plasticizers and flame retardants - are also bad for the environment and for us.

Do our recycled garden boxes and grow bags also produce micro-plastics?

No. Because our plastic grow bags and garden boxes are not exposed to that kind of wear and tear. They're also resistant to UV light and salt exposure. Plus, they can be used almost indefinitely. So, our products don't shed microplastics.
Makkelijke Moestuinbak gemaakt van plastic flesjes
Our MM-Airbak grow bag is made from recycled plastic
In fact, it's the other way around. The way to prevent microplastics from getting released into nature is to recycle plastic waste and turn it into useful products that you can use for a long time. Like our MM-Hero garden boxes.

Plus, our garden boxes can be recycled after use. And they don't contain any scary substances.

Read here the results of research into the hazardous substances in the recycled plastic we use.

What about other plastics in the garden?

Again, that depends on what it is and how you use it. For example, our weed mat is not a problem because there's no wear and tear involved: you're not scraping or poking it. But when you purchase a standard anti-weed cloth that most garden centers offer, small strands come loose. If those end up in nature, they become part of the problem.

It's true: sometimes you can't avoid plastic. I mean, I have no idea what an alternative would be to a plastic garden hose.

But most gardening tools don't need to be made with plastic. Either you don't really need those tools at all, or you can find the same gear made from other materials:
Makkelijke Moestuin tuingereedschap
Our spade and garden claw are made from wood and stainless steel
Sometimes, you can garden just fine with things you already have lying around.
  • Watering your plants? Why not use an old yogurt or deli container. They work just as well as a watering can- even better actually.
  • Raking or digging a hole? A fork and spoon from your kitchen drawer would work just fine for smaller tasks.

What about the other plastic we use?

Isn't that plastic you throw away immediately?

Yes, our MM-Mix comes in plastic bags. Unfortunately, there's no other way to do this with a bag of soil. However, 80% of the material is made from recycled plastic. As soon as it's technically possible, we'll make it 100%.

Plastic is also used to ship our stuff, but as little as possible. But all of that plastic is very easy to recycle into new material. That's a different story than potato chip bags, the plastic coating in cardboard coffee cups, and other composite products.

We're also looking into the possibility of making garden boxes from used bags. That would be fantastic, wouldn't it?

Help prevent plastic waste

There are 3 ways to do that:
  • By growing your own vegetables efficiently, you prevent plastic waste: just think of all the plastic-packaged vegetables your not getting from the supermarket.
  • Use products that last and are really necessary.
  • Buy new products from recycled plastic as much as possible - like our plastic garden boxes.
If you do all 3, you make an important contribution and help the environment.

Well done!

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