I think that is why I was so charged when I came across this amazing use for old plastic bottles. You know the ones: filled with fizzy drinks and about as much of a challenge to the environment as almost anything. England’s Deen City Farm -- a community project in south west London -- had all of their volunteers collect plastic pop bottles for a year. At the end of that year, they had 7000 bottles, which they then flattened into colorful, see-through shingles, a process that volunteers of all ages could take part in. From Inhabitat: Green Design Will Save the World:
What do you get when you put 7000 plastic bottles, 60 old sign posts, 350 metres of plastic water piping, 5 sheets of old building site boarding, 2 old scaffold planks and the sweat of over 180 volunteers together? This awesome Fizzy Bottle Hut! At first glance, the recycled structure might look like it has a colorful, shingled roof but upon closer inspection, you can see that it's actually made up of thousands of flattened soda and water bottles.There are so many things to love about this idea. The thought of many volunteers making a conscious, year-long effort to collect that which we usually avoid. The concept of making something useful out of something discarded. In some ways, though, the thing that I like best of all is illustrated in the photos at left, and it’s a simple thing. I love the way the light shines through that roof. It seems symbolic to me, somehow. All of these hands coming together to create something that will both protect them and bathe them in this beautiful diffused light. That is, together the volunteers at Deen City Farm have created something that is practical, lovely and completely recycled by their own hands. They’ve created something entirely new.
The Inhabit piece is here, along with a lot of terrific pictures of the project both under construction and completed. The story is an inspiration in so many ways but, most of all in the lessons we can take away from creating something new and very special out of something old and discarded. A good lesson, I think, for 2011.
Happy New Year!