07 Sep Bottles become vertical garden in ground-breaking project
The PET Green Wall will eventually transform a 4m x 2m concrete wall into a vertical garden, densely planted with native and exotic species including epiphytes and edible plants. However the real point of difference is the 460 plastic bottles that form the structure of the wall – these will eventually be covered over as the plants grow. The project came about when Logan Gilmour of Auckland landscaping company Natural Habitats, who has two children at Stanmore Bay School, suggested building a wall made of recycled plastic bottles to Principal Carol Abley.
Logan says the green wall proved to be an ideal way to combine sustainable technology with an educational and community project. Local businesses also got on board, including Eddie Law and NZ Blinds who donated money to assist with the build.
Pupils of Stanmore Bay School and their families collected more than 600 PET bottles over the past month and the children were also involved in all stages of the project.
Principal Carol Abley says her school is delighted to be the first in New Zealand to have a Green PET Wall.
“As an Environschool this is a great progression from the vegetable gardens, fruit orchard, composting bins and worm farm that we already have,” she says. “To turn so many bottles into a garden feature is amazing and has involved the students, staff and parents.”
Logan says that Natural Habitats’ PET wall was developed along the lines of similar projects undertaken in Australia and Brazil by Mark Paul, founder of The Greenwall Company.
Construction and installation took place last week and involved lengths of 1.5 litre plastic bottles bound together, with holes cut for insertion of the potting mix and plants. The bottles were tied by cables to four aluminium frames, which were attached to the concrete wall.
As well as providing expertise and manpower, Natural Habitats also funded the watering system that is essential to keep the plants alive.
With increasing urbanisation, green walls, also known as vertical gardens, are a way to keep essential vegetation and ecosystems in the landscape, without taking up usable space.
The incorporation of hundreds of plastic bottles means Natural Habitats’ wall also makes a significant contribution to recycling.
Natural Habitats is now looking for sponsorship to enable it to roll out green walls elsewhere on the Hibiscus Coast and New Zealand-wide.