DOI: 10.3390/horticulturae9090987 ISSN:

Recycled Waste Leaf Litter Pots Exhibit Excellent Biodegradability: An Experimental Analysis

Daegeun Ko, Haegeun Chung, Jongbae Park, Hyungwoo Kim, Eunseo Kang, Songhee Lee, Tae Kyung Yoon
  • Horticulture
  • Plant Science

The growth of the gardening kit market could result in the increased wasting of nursery pots, which are usually made of plastic. Replacing these pots with biodegradable pots made from green waste could have benefits for climate mitigation, the circular economy, and the greenness of gardening. To address this, we introduce a prototype recycled waste leaf litter (RWLL) nursery pot. Via an incubation experiment over 90 d, we examined their biodegradability and effects on microbial enzyme activity and inorganic nitrogen concentration, comparing them with commercially available biodegradable pots, namely peat–paper mixture pots (also known as Jiffypots®) and coco-coir pots. The effects of pot thickness were tested. Based on mass loss during incubation and on soil CO2 efflux, the RWLL pots exhibited excellent biodegradability, regardless of their thickness, with decomposition rates and soil CO2 efflux 1.5–6 times greater than other biodegradable pots. Biodegradability, extracellular enzyme activity, and soil inorganic nitrogen content were not affected by RWLL pot thickness or by the presence or absence of a plant in the soil. Unlike in natural ecosystems, leaf litter is treated as waste in urban green spaces, and its decomposition into soil organic matter is prevented. Creating plant pots from leaf litter enhances soil quality, reduces atmospheric carbon emissions, and satisfies the desire of gardeners for greenness.

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