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Alexandra Kain

BUMBERSHOOT 2008: The Plastic Bottle Greenhouse

by , 09/24/08

bottle house, jasmine zimmerman, recycled bottle greenhouse, recycled materials, plastic water bottles, plastic waste

This year, Americans will drink more than 30 billion single-serving bottles of water. To raise awareness of the alarming problem of plastic waste, Jasmine Zimmerman created the Bottle House – an open-roofed greenhouse made from hundreds of recycled plastic bottles. It’s an excellent example of repurposing a harmful and overlooked material into one that will grow vegetation, and Jasmine plans to exhibit the greenhouse in empty lots, rooftops, parks, and vacant buildings to help spread the word. We caught up with the structure in Seattle at Bumbershoot 2008, where it was joined by a number of socially and environmentally charged installations and performances.


According to the Container Recycling Institute, Americans drink 70 million disposable bottles of water each day, with a meager 10 million making their way to a recycling bin. Although we’re not sure about the gobs of hot glue holding the Bottle House together, we love the way Jasmine has recycled the cast off containers into a greenhouse capable of breathing life through the discarded plastic bottles.

Jasmine Zimmerman is an internationally exhibited American artist recently awarded an artist residency at Tacoma’s Museum of Glass.

+ Jasmine Zimmerman

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12 Comments

  1. Tim Dunn January 20, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Oxo-biodegradable plastics are otherwise conventional plastics that decompose into humus, the organic component of soil. Those wishing to learn more about oxo-biodegradable plastic products should visit our website at http://biogreenproducts.biz . We have posted a huge amount of information about oxo-biodegradable plastics, and supply many oxo-biodegradable plastic disposable products – wholesale only, I’m afraid. We supply garbage bags, t-shirt bags, water bottle preforms, deli containers and lids, produce bags, straws, and cutlery with zip-lock bags on the way. Oxo-biodegradable plastics are recycleable with conventional plastics. An oxo-biodegradable PET bottle gets recycled with conventional recycled PET bottles, as a ’1′ recycle category. -Tim Dunn

  2. pete@bevandesign.co.uk October 31, 2008 at 6:26 am

    RE: glytch Says: ‘It’s great that people are trying to re-use things, by why re-use something(or use it at all) that’s poisonous to you? I wouldn’t want my green house built from something that would harm me if i ate it.’

    Surley you would not want to eat the glass that my green house is made of?

  3. FIVEFOOTWAY.COM | Thai ... October 29, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    [...] Wat Pa Maha Chedio Kaew temple has found a way to bottle-up Nirvana, literally. The temple, which sits in Thailand’s Sisaket province, roughly 370 miles [...]

  4. Jac September 30, 2008 at 2:19 am

    It does make a great playhouse…but about the bottled water issue, i only buy them at places where even the locals will tell u their tap water is not safe to drink and a hot kettle is not provided.

  5. glytch September 27, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    It’s great that people are trying to re-use things, by why re-use something(or use it at all) that’s poisonous to you? I wouldn’t want my green house built from something that would harm me if i ate it.

  6. NaturallyEarth September 27, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    I know it’s a greenhouse, but wouldn’t it be great as a kids playhouse too? Just the unique factor alone would have the neighborhood kids buzzing.

  7. TimDunn September 26, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    There is a third alternative – making conventional plastic biodegradable. There is a new plastic that is cheap, strong, biodegradable and recyclable. It is used to make oxo-biodegradable plastic garbage bags and other disposable items.

  8. rimotori September 26, 2008 at 7:27 am

    how funny! it’s a beautiful idea, and the interior view must be very interessant.

  9. Aging Hippie September 25, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    Fabulous! This Plastic Greenhouse reminds me of some of the glass bottle houses in the Old West. There’s one in Calico, CA, also one at Knott’s Berry Farm, and one near Albuquerque, NM.

    Kind of inspires me to start collecting those plastic bottles…

  10. Tabitha September 25, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Wow – that\’s amazing! I\’m glad that people are trying to raise awareness of the problem. I swore off water bottles several months ago and have not looked back. In fact, i can\’t imagine not using my \”SIGG\” bottles – they\’re fantastic and make the water taste so fresth!
    from Tabitha @http://www.fromsingletomarried.com

  11. Steve N. Lee September 25, 2008 at 2:52 am

    It really is obscene the wastage we can attribute to bottled water sales. Some cities have even banned the sale of it in public buildings (I believe Ottawa is one, but I may be wrong). We need definitive action like that.

    I wouldn’t mind but so many studies have shown that the quality of water sold is no better or even worse than that you get out of your kichen tap! Just shows how the corporations can manipulate people into wasting their money on things they don’t need.

    I was expecting a more substantial structure from the picture of the greenhouse on the front page but every littl helps so I wish Jasmine all the best with her campaign.

    The only problem is, if people can’t buy disposal bottles of water whenever they want, will the sales of carbonated/fruit drinks in plastic bottles/cans go up and we’ll see more of those going into landfills?

    It isn’t only an end to bottle water we need to see, it’s an end to disposable culture!

    Steve N. Lee
    author of eco-blog http://www.lionsledbysheep.com
    and suspense thriller ‘What if…?’

  12. internetswasyes September 24, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    This seems pretty cool, but the whole “Fragile” sign gives me very little confidence in something like this working out without more processing.

    It seems like this is not strong enough to live outdoors. Maybe if the bottles were cut, the squares stiitched together, and then everything was put on a frame, it would be much more functional.

    I guess I have my own project…

    Internets Was Yes

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