If Life Gives You Plastic Bottles, Make Bottle Bricks!

Betsy Teutsch, for the Shuttle
Click image for a larger version of the instructions.

The bottle-bricking brigade, led by the Weavers Way Environment Committee and spurred on by yours truly, Mt. Airy’s Chief Bottle-Brick Evangelist, has amassed over 600 bricks. This represents a great deal of effort and has diverted a remarkable amount of waste from landfills. Thanks to all who are participating!

Those of us who have adopted the bottle-bricking habit are increasingly adept at expanding the types of waste we stuff in bottles rather than in the trash. I hereby award my husband, David, a Bottle Brick Badge of Honor. He walked in to the kitchen one morning with a garment bag from an old suit. “Do you want to bottle this?” he asked. It seemed big for a 20-oz. bottle, but . . . why not? “Sure!” I replied, taking out scissors and cutting the bag into pieces. Once I ripped off the zipper, it was easily stuffed into the next bottle. A little compressing reduced it to about half a bottle in volume — garment bag to brick in 5 minutes! 

Food Moxie will commence construction on the long-awaited Keyhole Garden project at Martin Luther King High School’s Hope Farm come September. Food Moxie educator and project manager Tara Campbell has planned a 3-foot high walled garden 6 feet in diameter, using a thousand bottle bricks. 

Keyhole gardens feature a center core filled with compost that directly nourishes and waters the garden. Designed by permaculturists seeking a maximally efficient use of resources, keyhole gardens are high-yielding and easy to maintain. Their height makes them accessible to gardeners who have trouble bending over, a useful feature for Hope Farm where some of the participants have mobility constraints.

We invite you to join the project if you haven’t already. A few reminders:

  • Only use a specified size and shape of bottle. Uniformity is essential — they’re bricks, remember.
  • Compress the contents until the brick weighs at least 180 grams. Stand on it – does it hold your weight without buckling?

Please drop your bricks off at the Food Moxie office at 608 Carpenter Lane. Just leave your bricks on the side of the stairs at the entrance, the door in the middle of Weavers Way Across the Way. If the door is locked, you can leave them in the doorway. We are not worried about folks stealing plastic bottles filled with trash. 

We thank you for helping us reach our thousand-bottle goal.

Weavers Way working member Betsy Teutsch is the author of “100 Under $100: Tools for Empowering Global Women.”