Plastic Bottle Planter Project: Part 1

Written by Alexandra Carelli / Photography by Jonathan Katzenberg

As you may already know from my earlier posts,Costa Rica has a significant waste management problem, and one of the most prolific culprits is the plastic bottle.To help combat this issue, and to teach the kids about creative recycling, we decided to do a Trash Art project this past Friday with plastic bottles.Since we are in the process of starting a community garden, we thought it would be cool to use the plastic bottles we found in the garden area to create planters, and have the kids paint them as a fun, creative art class!

Here is how we did the first part of the project (collecting, cleaning, painting):

  1. Collect as many plastic bottles as you can: any shape, any size, and color.It is best if the bottles still have tops!
  2. Cut the bottles in half.Both the top and bottom can be used for the project, so save both parts.
  3. Wash the bottles; if they aren’t cleaned properly they will start to attract ants (and all of the developing country dwellers know what a nightmare that can be).
  4. Organize the kids.I am assuming you already have a space to use, and some paint, so just arrange a time to do the project.Be sure to cover EVEYTHING that you don’t want painted, we were on our hands and knees scrubbing the floor after this project.
  5. Paint! The kids has an absolute blast doing this project.I made one “example” beforehand, and thus we ended up with a lot of striped bottles, but alas, they looked great!
  6. Slice a small hole on either side of the bottle and thread with string so you can hang the planter. Or you can sit them on the ground, its up to you.
  7. Be sure to cut holes in the bottom for drainage as well!

The kids and volunteers had an absolutely amazing time with this project, and at the end we had tons of beautiful planter bottles ready for, well, planting. Stay tuned, next week we plant the seeds!

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