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172 plastic water bottles went into making this Greenhouse

I originally had this idea last November when I was Inspired by an installation at Paignton Zoo. The local school had built a greenhouse there entirely from re-using recycled plastic drinks bottles to show an effective use of one of our most wasteful single use products.
Since November our lovely customers have been bringing their bottles in for us and had collected enough to get started; in fact 172 plastic water bottles went into making this Greenhouse.

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Paignton Zoo Installation was my inspiration

cutting, measuring, sawing, drilling and screwing!

You have to start by laying out your tools and materials: 2×1 treated timber frame, enough water bottles for the job(see below), screws, and bamboo canes. You will also need 3×3 treated corner posts to support the frames but i already had these in place.
I hope your good at cutting, measuring, sawing, drilling and screwing! The bottles slide onto each cane by drilling a hole in the bottle base, then assembling the canes into each cut frame to make the sides and roof of your greenhouse, and then screwed to the posts.
You will need to estimate about 3 bottles per square foot for your panels, plus an additional row on top to cap off. The bottles are aprx 10cm wide so your greenhouse size should be a multiple of that plus the timber width. Each panel is made up of 2×1 timber 20mm thick so add 40mm to your total bottle width when cutting your timber ie: 1600mm +40mm = 1640mm.

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Allow 10cm bottle cane width + 40mm for timber frame

Decide on your greenhouse size

The height usually is up to 1830mm for convenience as this is a standard 6′ length from most DIY stores. The bottle length are then cut to size to fit.
So decide on your greenhouse size: length, width and height to get your upright panel sizes.
Allow a space for the doorway, and decide on your roof style. Paignton Zoo featured a pitch roof made up of 2 panels and 2 triangular shaped ends; but my design was only a ‘lean to’ against my fence panel. This made mine alot easier to do!

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‘Lean To’ style roof panel is alot easier

drill a hole in the bottom

Once you have assembled your frames for the panels, remove caps/labels and clean bottles, then you can begin to cut the bottles and slide them onto the canes. You will need to remove the necks from two and drill a hole in the bottom, for each cane as the top and bottom caps.

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remove the tops from 2 bottles for each cane
Then remove the bottoms of as many bottles required to fill the length of cane, and slide the neck over the cane to fit snug into each other.

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with bottoms removed the bottles fit snug into each other

quick and easy to finish

Once all your bottles are on the canes and cut to fit into the frame, drill a hole big enough (about 10mm) for the canes into each frame, top and bottom 100mm apart starting 50mm from one side. This will make the job quick and easy to finish, but you may have to loosen the frame a little to get each one in.

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Drill holes in frame to allow canes to fit

Dont forget to recycle your waste

This just leaves fitting it all together! My design was for two big barn doors at the front with fixed sides and lean to roof. So i completed the door frame, fixed the roof section to it and the fence posts, then mounted the doors on recycled hinges, using recycled spoons as handles!
Dont forget to recycle your waste! Most council sites now recycle hard plastics and bottles.

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Recycled spoons as handles!

Further Reading

Paignton Zoo Green Projects. http://www.eaza.net/activities/sustainability/Documents/Paignton.pdf
Inspiration Green- Homes made from plastic bottles. http://www.inspirationgreen.com/plastic-bottle-homes.html
Recycling Guide- plastic bottle facts. http://www.recycling-guide.org.uk/facts.html
Used2bee – This is our shop website! Recycled Organic and Fairtrade products. Great for gifts furniture and clothing. http://www.used2bee.com

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