Is Growing Food in a Plastic Container Safe?

Posted on Aug 4 2010 - 3:27am by Mike Lieberman

One of the questions that people frequently ask me is revolved around the health concerns of growing in the plastic containers.

Is it safe to grow in plastic containers? Is it leaching harmful toxins into the soil, water, plants and eventually my body. I honestly have no clue, nor do I claim to. I think there is a valid concern in those beliefs and generally avoid plastic, but I rationalize doing so in a few ways.

  • The containers are being saved from the landfill. While this doesn’t directly effect my health. It does effect the health and well being of the planet, which in turn effects my health. None of the containers were purchased. All of them were already used.
  • I’m growing organically. The soil, plants, compost, manure tea and even the water is filtered. Does that counter balance any potential leaching? I dunno, but in my mind in kind of does.
  • Since I don’t have land, what am I going to use if I don’t use plastic containers? I’d have to buy pots of some sort which would increase the amount of money being spent and resources used in the production of the pots.

I don’t know the exact health effects and carbon footprint of everything (I don’t believe that anyone really does). For the reasons mentioned above, I can rationalize growing my own food in plastic containers simply because I know how the plants are being taken care of and am cutting down severely on the transportation costs of the food.

What are your thoughts on this?