Plastic Fantastic Greenhouse
What’s the weather like today? Answers in the UK this Spring would be either ’ changeable’ or ’ rainy & windy.’ Those who work on the land, in gardens, allotments or in agriculture have needed the option of a protective environment for young plants and seedlings.
We built a greenhouse from recycled plastic bottles on the new site of the Hemel Food Garden.
I asked Emma Norrington of Sunnyside, the local charity which is responsible for transforming this land on the edge of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire how this ecological bottle-house came into being. She described how the pile of bottles were first washed, then cut, then threaded on to bamboo canes and placed into wooden frames.
(Photo – Graham and Sheila, environmental services officers from Dacorum Borough Council)
Emma: ‘We were amazed by how many bottles we were able to use in the project, and the realisation of just how many more must be used and discarded each day.’
Emma: ‘The bottles in frames formed the wall panels, and then roof panels were built in the hangar before being brought out and put on top – quite a moment!
I’m amazed how beautiful it looks too. People shown round the site are fascinated by our bottle house, and all take photos, vowing to construct their own.’
Question: What will you use the greenhouse for?
Emma: ‘First of all for as many tomatoes as we can grow in there! The Hemel Food Garden team is really looking forwards to seeing the plants and fruit growing (and glowing) through the bottle walls. We have applied for planning permission for a local food shop on site.
We are extremely grateful to Haim and Mischa from MoreSouth mediterranean catering who worked on the project from start to finish. Haim developed the design and oversaw the sourcing of the waste bottles.
And we certainly couldn’t have done this without local renewable energy company RES , who took it on as a Corporate Social Responsibility task and worked with other local volunteers.’
So – all that are needed are time, willing helpers and a couple of thousand plastic bottles, as well as wood for frames and a door. No special engineering skills are required – just a willingness to think creatively about waste materials. Purists may be happy with the air circulation that comes from gaps in the structure, otherwise it is possible to use a bit of old bubble-wrap and silicon to fill in.
And remember, glass can smash in stormy, variable weather,( appart from being quite expensive these days) whereas reserach has already shown that ‘plastic fantastics’ last for at least several years.
On May 11 the Hemel Food Garden will be officially opened when 90 guests will be invited to have a tour and enjoy a buffet lunch provided by MoreSouth.
What have you made for your garden out of recycled materials?