EvCC builds greenhouse made out of pop bottles
Doug Ramsay photo, dougramsayphoto.photoshelter.com
Everett Community College Early Learning specialist Karen Klett checks out the Early Learning Center’s new greenhouse constructed out of plastic pop bottles on Friday, May 30.
EVERETT — A building shaped like a house with walls constructed out of two-liter plastic bottles was recently erected in the play area of the Everett Community College’s Early Learning Center.
The structure will work like a greenhouse, and children at the center will be able to grow peas, tomatoes, flowers and other plants inside.
“We knew we wanted the project to be educational and experiential,” Eugene McAvoy, dean of communications and social sciences at Everett Community College, said.
The college plans to place an educational plaque explaining how long plastic bottles last in a landfill (about 700 years) and how many bottles were used in the creation of the greenhouse (slightly less than 1,300).
To create the greenhouse, the bottle bottoms were cut off so that they could be laced into one another. They stand upright after being threaded onto bamboo dowels that are fastened to the greenhouse’s wooden frame, which rests on a solid foundation.
“We thought we could get this up in one day,” McAvoy said. “In reality, it took close to 25 hours of work.”
The EvCC Leadership Academy was brainstorming ideas for a project that would relate to sustainability. It wasn’t long before they knew they wanted to do something with water bottles. They worked through a few ideas involving recycling bottles and water bottle usage before someone in the group found a water bottle greenhouse online.
That’s when they decided to go with a similar project, highlighting the repurposing of old water bottles and educating kids about water bottle usage.
Though it would take 700 years for the bottles to deteriorate, they will likely need to be replaced on the 48-square-foot greenhouse much sooner than that, as exposure to the sun causes plastic bottles to turn opaque and they would then not function as a greenhouse.
“We expect it to last years,” McAvoy said. “Bottles are easily replaced.”
Gaps between the bottles intentionally allow for air to flow through the greenhouse.
One large trough and three small planters are currently inside the greenhouse. Starter plants will be brought soon for kids to begin tending to.
The bottles used in this project were rejects from Safeway Bottling. Bottles are rejected if they have any imperfections or if they touched the ground at any point during their creation, but they still work as the walls to the greenhouse.
Although kids at the Early Learning Center were not involved with the creation of the greenhouse, McAvoy said that the builders had many curious young onlookers while it was being built. They are excited to begin using their new greenhouse soon.