As people have been spending more time quarantined at home due to the COVID-19 situation, many have been prompted to think about how they can live a more sustainable and healthier lifestyle. One of the ways in which this can be practiced is through urban gardening, in which vegetable crops are grown within homes located in urban areas.
Nowadays it is not necessary to own a big plot of land to have a garden. In fact, it is possible to have your own garden through container gardening, wherein seeds are planted in containers filled with soil instead of planting them on the ground. This is useful for when space is limited, and it could be anything that can be readily found at home which can be filled with soil, such as pots, tubs, or even plastic soda bottles.
Recycling PET bottles (short for polyethylene terephthalate) such as those of soda bottles can be a great alternative for clay and ceramic pots, as they are cost-effective and reusing them is helpful for the environment since plastic waste is reduced. Households can surely think twice before throwing plastic products out, as there can still be many ways for them to be used productively.
Here are some ideas on how you can reuse and recycle PET bottles which can be found right at home:
PET Bottles as Plant Containers
The most straightforward way to reuse a PET bottle would be to simply cut a space in the middle with the bottle in a horizontal orientation. Ensure that the opening is big enough so it can be easily filled with soil, and that the bottle cap is still intact to keep the soil from spilling over.
PET Bottles are Ideal for Vertical Gardening
This is a technique in which plants are grown through a container that is positioned vertically and it is usually hung on a wall or can be suspended in the air through the use of strings. This is perfect for when you would like to grow lots in a small space. PET bottles can be used for this, as they are slender and you can easily fill a wall with many of these side by side.
Self-Watering PET Bottles
This is much like vertical gardening wherein it can stand upright or be hung by strings, except it can store water. This is done by cutting the PET bottle in two parts. Separate the first half of the bottle, then flip it over to make it fit inside the second bottom half. In this way, the bottom half can cradle the first one, and it can serve as a water reserve for the growing plant, as water tends to pool at the bottom whenever the bottle is watered. Make sure to punch holes in the bottle cap so the roots can reach through the pooled water as needed.
A notable initiative involving the use of PET bottles was started by ARC Refreshments Corporation, Inc (ARC) which is known as “My Gulay Garden”, wherein their employees actively take part in waste composting and vegetable gardening through the use of their company’s very own recycled PET bottles. ARC employees encourage and teach their households to take part in this sustainable practice, which then further influenced the community they live whenever they are able to share about it with their neighbors.
It is good to think that even in the midst of an uncertain time, people can explore reinventing their lifestyle by going back to nature through urban gardening. This is a valuable practice that can be carried over even after the quarantine season. As it can be done together as a family, it can be an avenue for children to learn about the importance of recycling and being mindful of their waste. It also promotes the ability of being self-sufficient for all ages, and hopefully for generations to come.