1700 Empty Bottles Build Bright Horizons Greenhouse

Story and photos by Lindsey Chester.

Cary, NC – The children at Bright Horizons at the Clubhouse in Cary have been busy for the past year building a Greenhouse made out of 1700 recycled 2-liter bottles. The children will use the greenhouse to grow food to give back to their community as part of the Grow & Share program.

I visited the playground where the green house sits in the Bright Horizons shady back yard the day the house was completed.


Director Robin Sarine explained that to build idea evolved after a Bright Horizons employee came back from years in the UK.  There, a Bright Horizons school had built a similar greenhouse. Her enthusiasm for the project located in Southam Warwickshire, England got folks in Cary excited to tackle something like it.

What Can You Do With a 2 Liter Bottle?

Robin said when they received the plans she began doing some research on the internet. She wanted to show the kids visual images of what could be created from recycled 2 liter soda bottles. Everyone began collecting bottles last March. Families enlisted their employers, their churches and neighborhoods to collect the necessary amount of bottles and the center began to store bags brimming with bottles in their back yard.

April 14th a construction group came in to create the structural frame from 2 x 4’s. Adults cut off the bottoms of all the bottles, and then on Monday April 16th the kids began to add the bottles to bamboo poles. These were then screwed to the frames. Assembly involved all the center’s children from as young as 2 to as old as 14.

Sustainable Inside and Out

Next step will be receiving the seeds and plants to grow inside their greenhouse, which Robin assured me will be self-sustaining. Grow and Share provides the seeds and plants for the project, and Bright Horizons can pick a worthy recipient, be that a food pantry or a family in need they know of right here in the community.

The house design is open so that rain will flow into the house though the roof and sides. The floor will be gravel for adequate drainage. The design should act like a life-size terrarium recycling moisture inside to eliminate most watering. Robin believes peppers and tomatoes will be some of the first plants added.

The timing of the project also coincides with Earth Day and ties in with the schools curriclum units called “Garden Work” and “Towards a Better World”. Kids learn about plants and gardening, but more importantly how they can help others. The Grow And Share Program provides the plant materials, but lets the organizations they partner with chose who receives their harvest.

The official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony is Friday, April 27 at 4:30 to see the final product. Maybe this will be the first of many such projects?