Back Porch Pots exist because of the lack of sustainable garden pot options on the market today.
Terra cotta pots can be reused, but they are made from clay, which means that they break easily, absorb water that the plants need to grow, and given their rigidity, it’s difficult to get plants out without damaging the roots.
Compostable pots could be a good option for some folks, but they don’t break down in many climates, and they are still single use pots, which means you have to buy them again every year.
Back Porch Pots are made from 100% non-toxic silicone, and are engineered to last thousands of uses under normal conditions. Back Porch Pots are designed specifically for reuse: they are flexible, durable, and easy to clean.
What’s the problem with single-use black plastic?
We all know that plastic pollution is a growing problem. Every minute, the equivalent of one garbage truck’s worth of plastic is dumped into the oceans. Researchers estimate that over 9.2 billion tonnes of plastic has been manufactured since 1950. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), less than 9% of plastics in the US get recycled. The rest is either landfilled or incinerated. Incineration releases thousands of pollutants into the atmosphere and causes respiratory and other negative health impacts to communities.
We can’t recycle our way out of plastic pollution. Plastics only break down into smaller and smaller pieces, and eventually break down into microplastics, which absorb toxic chemicals from the environment and pollute everything from waterways to wildlife to the food we eat.
Black plastic is ubiquitous in the gardening industry. Every year, nurseries and garden centers sell hundreds of millions of plants in single-use, black plastic pots, almost all of which end up in landfills or in our oceans. They’re cheap, break down easily, and are not designed for reuse.
There are no safety requirements for black plastic: it can contain unregulated amounts of toxic chemicals, including phthalates, flame retardants, and heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, nickel, and mercury.
Most black plastics use carbon to color the plastic black, which absorbs the beam so that recycling sorting machines cannot identify the resin in black plastic. Even if it makes it to a recycling center, the vast majority of black plastic pots still end up in the landfill.
The Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) released a white paper in July, 2020 about the impact of plastic pots in the gardening industry. Their research revealed that "plastic pots significantly contribute to the proliferation of plastic pollution, with numerous adverse environmental effects. As an organization committed to stewardship of the land, APLD is concerned about our industry’s reliance on a material that does not biodegrade, leaches toxins into soils and groundwater, is difficult to recycle, and is primarily manufactured from fossil fuels. A more sustainable product for growing, shipping, and selling plant material must be found."
Back Porch Pots is a member of the APLD Healthy Pots, Healthy Planet coalition, and is working with industry stakeholders to help reduce the reliance on petroleum-based plastics in the gardening industry.
Why is Silicone a better option?
Back Porch Pots are durable and designed to be reused season after season, thereby reducing the amount of single-use plastic that is choking our landfills and oceans. Back Porch Pots are temperature resistant to extreme hot/cold, UV resistant, hydrophobic, mold and bacteria resistant.
Back Porch Pots are made from 100% food-grade silicone with no fillers. High-quality food grade silicone with no fillers has been deemed safe and non-toxic by the FDA and Health Canada (to determine if a silicone product has fillers, stretch/twist the material and if any white shows through, it is not pure silicone). Silicone doesn't easily break down or decompose, so it doesn't shed microparticles into the environment. Silicone does not contain lead, phthalates, PVC, formaldehyde, nitrosamines, latex, or hormone disrupting chemicals like BPA and BPS, which are commonly found in petroleum-based plastics.
We acknowledge that silicone is not a perfect material. After researching all available materials, we determined silicone to be the best option with current technology for this application due to its durability/reusability, sustainable attributes, and flexibility. Silicone is made primarily from silica, an abundant and common component of sand, mixed with oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen. Silica is processed at high temperatures to produce silicon, which is then reacted with hydrocarbons to form the polymer backbones of silicone. While silicone is not 100% fossil fuel-free, it is a better alternative to single-use plastic.
Back Porch Pots are recyclable at silicone recycling facilities. If at some point you no longer need your Back Porch Pots, you can donate them to a local community or school garden, or send them back to us to ensure they are responsibly recycled.
All of our packaging is plastic-free and is 100% recyclable/biodegradable/compostable. Our shipping boxes are made in the USA with FSC-certified 100% recycled content (95% post-consumer waste). Our shipping labels and shipping tape are plastic-free. Our retail packaging is 100% recycled-content paperboard printed with vegetable ink.
Our manufacturing partner is a signatory to the UN Global Compact, maintains ISO 9001, AS 9100, and UL Traceability certifications, and has achieved Ecovadis Silver level recognition.
Carbon neutral shipping
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