Biodegradable Pots




Introduction: Biodegradable Pots

Before you think about throwing out those cardboard boxes, newspaper ads and even that pile of leaves in your yard, be sure to read this instructable! You could turn your trash into biodegradable treasures!

It is easy for us to simply throw out trash and not think of all the possibilities you can make with it.

Step 1: Materials/Tools Needed

Step 2: Print the Pot Mold

Step 3: Water Pump Set Up

  1. Cut two pieces of vinyl tubing and attach them to the ends of the pump. Clamp the tubing into place.
  2. Attach the inlet tube to the top of the 3D printed mold and leave the discharge tube inside the plastic container. (this is where we will pour our slurry)

Step 4: Collect Your Trash

  1. Separate your trash by type.
  2. Cut your trash into smaller pieces. The idea is to be able to fit it into a large pot. No need to cut up the leaves (unless they are very large)
  3. In a large pot, place your cut up trash and soak with hot water.
    • Cardboard: soak for 20 min
    • Leaves: soak for 10 min
    • Paper: Soak for 10 min
  4. After soaking, remove some of the trash from the pot and place in a blender. (fill about half way)
  5. Add 2 cups of water from the pot to the mix.
  6. I found that the paper did not need any blending as it turned into pulp simply by soaking
  7. Mix your trash until you get a pulp like consistency
  8. An important note!! When blending the leaves, there was great success when mixing 3 part leaves and 1 part cardboard.
  9. Use a strainer when dealing with the paper pulp and rinse thoroughly to remove the ink.

Step 5: Time to Mold

  1. Pour your slurry into a large cup or mixing container.
  2. Turn on the water pump and insert the pot mold on to the slurry. Stir the pot mold in the slurry.
  3. When the mold has been completely covered with the slurry, remove the mold from the container.
  4. Manually compress the slurry onto the mold.
  5. Once the slurry is compact onto the mold, remove it from the mold. It is helpful to carefully twist the pot from the mold.
  6. Microwave your pot. This is step is optional and is helpful to speed up the process, you can also allow them to sun dry.
    • Cardboard: 2 min microwave
    • Paper: 3 min microwave
    • Leaves: 3 min microwave
    • These times can vary based on your microwave.

Step 6: Success

You have now turned your trash into a biodegradable starter pot!

Step 7: Future Upgrades and Ideas

  1. Add fertilizer/plant food/mycelium to mix to ensure better plant growth
  2. Customize PH based on plant need
  3. Adding holes to the bottom (can be done manually)
  4. Different mold for pyrotechnic hemispheres
  5. Pump enclosure



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    19 Discussions

    If you do not have a 3D printer or access to one you can take two plastic Meow Mix cat food containers, papier mache', or what other biodegradable mush you want to use. Poke holes in one container to make a sieve with small hot nails. Fill with the mache' press the other cup in to form. Or you could use deep muffin pans and do the same thing to form the cups. Voila seedling cups :)

    5 replies

    My initial idea was to do this. Use existing trash but to create a perforated body such as that would take a lot of time and effort. So I used the 3d printer. You could also create the pulp and mold it around a cylindrical body but you might have uneven thickness.

    Edward with the poking of the nail it might take a minute or two depending on how hot it is. A person can also get a small drill bit and drill the holes. Not many would be needed for the water to be pressed out :) The Mache' will be formed and it would dry. This suggestion is not to undermine your tutorial and idea but give an alternative for those that don't have 3D printers or access to them :)

    Sorry, if I sounded defensive, I can assure you that I'm not offended, I appreciate your comment. I did contemplate the idea. Just thought it would be more effective with the 3d print. Thank you and sorry =)

    Not to worry. Print is not a good medium for communicating emotion :)

    be careful using printed paper the chemicals used in printing can be toxic

    During Step 5, at what point do you turn off the pump/vacuum? Is it still on when you "Manually compress the slury..."? Cheers!

    1 more answer

    I found it to be useful to keep the pump on so when you are compressing it, the excess water will be extracted.

    I'm not clear on how the pump is doing this, but what a great idea!

    1 reply

    The pump is creating negative pressure in the print thus attracting the fibers to the body.

    Great idea! I uploaded the *.STL files to to print and the lid was incomplete. The bottom seemed to upload fine.

    1 reply

    I'll investigate the issue. But there's an offset surface there and that might be the issue. Thank you for checking it out.

    In Step 5, is the mold attached to the pump inlet, to create a suction? You don't say, but I assume this must be the case. Thanks!

    1 more answer

    So much less messy than a gravity-based molding process! Thanks for sharing this, this is great!

    Very simple and useful. I like the idea to add ph and fertiliser . Thanks ! You are great and awsome.

    This is without a doubt the greatest reclamation project ever known.