recycling for the apocalypse: the bottle fence

My first thought when I saw this photo could be visualized in the form of a very large black exclamation point. Then, returning to the English language, I thought: well, shit, why didn’t I think of that?

The picture arrived in an e-mail from blogger Nim of Nimcraft: Geekcrafting and Ueberdorking, who said: “This is nothing new to the world, but I pounded bottles into the ground to form flowerbed-esque borders and also to line walkways.” New or not, I was impressed, and rushed off to Click Clack Gorilla in my recycling for the apocalypse superhero cape to share the idea with you.

I asked Nim to tell me more about the process of collecting the bottles and putting them in the ground. “It took about a summer to collect the bottles,” Nim said, “But I got a whole army of drunkards to help.”

“I started out saving beer bottles, but here in the States they make them way too flimsy (in the 6-pack sizes. Once you get up to larger sizes, the glass gets thicker, like wine bottles). That plus the hard ground made for a lot of broken shards I had to dig out with a spade. I switched to wine and liquor bottles only (and softer ground) and it made all the difference in the world.”

“Around my tree I think it took about two dozen wine bottles, if memory serves. The ring is about two meters in diameter. However, the bottles are spaced with rocks, since many a root came into my way. I put the rocks in the spaces the roots caused and called it done.

“A word of caution: if your soil is baked and hard (I live in Texas), wait for a rain or give the ground a good soak before proceeding. I used a rubber mallet to hammer the bottles in, but watch out for pinching the skin of your bottle-holding hand under the hammer. Free tips, those!”

This idea couldn’t have landed on my doorstep at a better time. The same morning that I heard from Nim, I had been gazing out my window at the patch of ground that will become my garden come spring, and wondering if I would be able to find enough bricks laying around to make a little mini fence around the beds. Looks like it’s time to start collecting bottles and soaking off labels.

Have any of you tried this before?

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Monday February 28th 2011, 7:20 am 6 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,diy,freegan,recycling for the apocalypse

6 Comments so far. Please leave a comment.

I’ve done this for gardening but also to water over a span of time. Fill the bottle with water and make a hole in the ground and flip it upside down and the water slowly leaks into the ground.

Comment by Nokizaru 03.01.11 @ 1:45 am

No, but thanks! I was literally just about to haul a bunch of bottles into town to get rid of them.

Comment by Tara 03.01.11 @ 9:02 pm

Good idea Nokizaru. I’m going to have to try that. I’m curious to see how long it would take the water to seep out and into the ground.

Tara: Woo!

Comment by clickclackgorilla 03.02.11 @ 2:23 am

Never seen bottles being used like that but jave spent a fair bit of time picking up shards of glass in the community garden I volunteer in – it has been on the go for more than twenty years so it doesn’t seem as if there should be any left in the ground but every year a few bucket-fulls are collected.

I have started saving my bottles though because I’ve seen them used as part of a wall in many strawbale type houses and I really like the way it looks. So just in case I ever do manage to get a bit of land to build a nice roundhouse on someday I thought I should start saving up some bottles. Baby steps and all that :)

Comment by Moonwaves 03.03.11 @ 7:22 pm

Moonwaves: Oh! I love those houses too. I would love to build some sort of bottle shed or something in my next life (aka the next place I live). You are going to love the place I’m posting about tomorrow.

Comment by clickclackgorilla 03.04.11 @ 1:00 am

Glad ya liked!

For funsies, I found solar lights and cut them down to their barest essentials. I put them inside jars placed in the ground every tenth bottle (or so) along the path. The jars can be unscrewed to replace the lights if necessary, and they keep the lights dry inside. Just make sure to orient the solar charger inside the jar so it faces the sun once in the ground.

Comment by nim 03.10.11 @ 1:25 am




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