Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Making A Pergola Using Discarded Plastic Bottles And PVC Pipe Is Easier Than You Think

The problem with Plastic is that it is "Too Good".

You drink from it.
You use it at the Pool.
You take it with you into the Bathroom.
It is built into your lives.

It is so pervasive that there are rivers in Asia, and probably in "your country" that are clogged with it and you are most likely eating it or breathing it in right now.

But what happens when "it" has reached the end of "it's" life.

There is no "away" to throw it to.  If you put it in the trash can to be taken away, the can is probably plastic, and it will just get dumped into a pile.  The pile may be burned, but from what we know, less than 10 percent of it all gets recycled.

Those helpful numbers on the bottom of the bottle merely tell you what kind of plastic family that object is made from and if there actually is a way to recycle it, it makes it easier.

At least there are helpful projects like that woman in Kenya has going to make bricks for buildings there.  It plays to the strengths of the material and keeps it out of the trash stream.

I have been toying with that myself.  I shredded some #2 HDPE plastic into chips, and it does melt into a form very easily.

However I needed a shade for my Orchids.  Each spring at the beginning of Hurricane season, we have the tree there cut "way back" for safety.  If we ever do get hit, I want to give the storm less of a target.  However that Sea Grape tree shades the flowers and they will "burn" if left in the direct South Florida sun.

I have tried a mix of materials.  Bamboo, Sheeting, and now PVC Pipe. 

I have a neighbor who regularly throws out PVC Pipe and I have collected enough to build a Pergola out of it.  However, this being Florida, I have to make sure it can be easily taken down.

Solution is to build panels.  Not just PVC Pipe, but the Hurricane Water we have here comes in "helpful" little bottles of thin clear plastic. 

The trick is to slice them into finger width rings, then use those rings to bind the pipe segments together into panels.  Each panel is an arbitrary useful length (5 feet) and an arbitrary useful number (7 pipes to a flat bundle).  

Slide the rings over the pipes then blast them with a heat gun.  The plastic (#1 I believe) will shrink up and get rigid when it cools and I now have a nice flat panel to lay on top of a form.

Each ring shrinks in about 30 seconds and will hold the panels in place as needed.  I will say that looking at that first picture, I can improve on the panels by making spacers between each pipe and continue on refining the result.  I don't want total darkness.

I would rather not have water in bottles but they are here for emergency purposes, and have to be rotated and drank in the off season, so every year we get more.

It's best to have a real use for the things.

Since it's all plastic, it is weather resistant instead of the landscape cloth that disintegrated in less than two months.  While I could make this rigid enough to stand on, I prefer it to be in easy pieces to store.

I have another 6 months to go to the beginning of the next Hurricane Season, so by then, I'll have this all stabilized for the winds.

Oh, and no trash this way.  At least not for quite a while.

No comments:

Post a Comment