February 10, 2009

Super finish to a super sustainable build!

By Lian Mah

We completed our project in Tampa last week, and things could not have gone any better. While the rest of Tampa was gearing up for the Super Bowl, we were joined by 130 volunteers from The Home Depot and 100 volunteers from the community to build our playground, and at the end of the day the amount of waste that we had on site was so minimal, you would have thought only 25 people had been there!

The community in Tampa got a recycling dumpster donated for the day that would take everything from lumber scraps to concrete to cardboard. We were able to put an amazing amount of what would normally be considered waste into this dumpster to be recycled. Unfortunately this dumpster couldn’t take plastic bottles, so we had a large amount of blue recycling bins donated from the city for those. We placed these around the site and had some of the teenagers who were volunteering with us walk around at various times collecting any plastic bottles that people had left around site. At the end of the day we bagged up a pile of plastic bottles to be taken to a recycling plant.

One of the major projects that we did throughout the day involved the use of a product called Filtrexx FilterSoxx. These are tube-like, mesh “soxx” filled with locally-sourced compost and planted with native plants. We created a maze, a border to a path, and an edible garden for the school. The kids are going to play a large part in maintaining the edible garden and the teachers in the school are planning a whole curriculum around the plants we put in. At the end of the day, the kids were already taking turns watering the plants and were talking about how they looked, smelled, and felt. It will take approximately six weeks for the plants to fully take root, so I will post pictures of those as time goes on!

At the end of the day, many of the materials that we had leftover were donated to the Tampa Bay Community and Family Development Corporation, which is working to turn one of their properties into a wellness center for women and children. The kids were busy all day long, learning about gardening and making picture holders and masks out of materials they had brought in from home. I will be posting pictures of everything on my profile.

I’m excited The Home Depot Foundation is the official Sustainability Partner of KaBOOM! in 2009. I’m so proud of the community in Tampa and all of the great ideas they came up with and executed for this project. As always, I’d love to hear any feedback or thoughts people might have. I’d especially love any ideas people might have for future projects, since this is only the beginning of what promises to be a great partnership!

Lian Mah is a KaBOOM! Project Manager based out of the Washington, D.C. office.

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