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User Surveys

We want better options to replace virgin plastic, but what does that mean?  Healthy Pots, Healthy Planet is reaching out to various user groups to survey them on what they would like to see in a more sustainable alternative pot, asking about attributes such as material, durability, cost, availability, plant health, handling, certifications, environmental impact, and disposal.


Here’s what we learned when we surveyed Landscape Designers.


Made of natural/
biodegradable material,

preferred by 74% of respondents. Previously used
plastic pots were preferred by about 15%, and pots made from recycled plastic were the favorite of only about 11%.

Highly Durable!

We want a strong material that will hold up for the plant, soil, and water (72%), with a sufficient lifespan for storage and growing (69%). Decay resistance and low water requirements were farther down the list but still desired.


Available in various sizes, but especially gallons.

That’s what an overwhelming 92% of respondents said.


of course, but we settled on the cost being “slightly important” (38%) rather than “extremely important” (23%). About 30% of us were neutral on the cost, and a tiny percentage found prices to be “slightly unimportant” or “unimportant at all.”

Harmless to Plants

(93%), moisture retentive (73%), and just right on appropriate soil temperature (56%) were critical factors. Many commented that the pots should have good drainage and support good root development. That’s a question for the next survey!

USDA BioPreferred

certified (43%) if certified at all, but the majority (52%) felt certifications did not matter. Based on the comments, certification education is important!



72% of respondents chose this option, followed by recycling. Industrial composting garnered 54%, and home composting attracted 45%. Plantable, on the other hand, appealed to 48% of respondents. Since the top material choice was natural/biodegradable, achieving re-useability is a tall order!

Widely Available

(82%), as well as produced as close to the point of use as possible (52%). We like to buy locally!

Easy for Plant Removal

(74%), easy to pick up (67%), and lightweight (54%) were the top three handling requirements. We’re also keen on stackable (52%), plantable (35%), and shippable (28%).

Environmentally Sound

Pots should have low polluting potential (96%), be non-toxic (86%), not likely to deplete other natural resources (83%) and contain low embodied energy (74%).

So, what else did we learn? As for what happens to the plastic pots after installation, 58% of respondents do the heroic work of re-using them. Not surprisingly, 47% reported that they go to trash. But note this survey respondents cohort is beating the 95-98% landfill disposal rate by a wide margin. Other than that, it was an almost even breakout among donations for reuse (40%), recycling (34%), and growers taking them back (39%).

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