When the Grow Love Community Garden volunteers decide to make a difference in the world, they go for it in a big way.
The group, based at their garden on the corner of Menge and Magnolia Road, issued a call for plastic bottle caps through the The Leader last April and from that point on, have been inundated by the colourful round lids.
“It’s bigger than Ben Hur! I never imagined the Barossa could drink that much milk or coffee for one thing!” laughed Denise Habermann, the group’s co-ordinator.
Last Wednesday the team filled two huge wine crates with an estimated 37,500 large lids and 48,500 small lids, all sorted into colours by volunteers including Tanunda Lutheran Home residents who were keen to support the “Envision Hands” initiative.
The plastic will be extruded into rolls of filament for use in 3-D printers to make bespoke prosthetic limbs for children in under-serviced countries.
This first load was delivered to Nuriootpa Traders who offered to drive the cargo, free of charge, to the collection depot in Melbourne.
For Denise and the group, the project aligns perfectly with their ideologies of working together as part of a caring community, supporting people in need and helping the environment.
“If all this can be turned into prosthetic limbs for underprivileged kids, that is amazing really,” Denise said.
“It’s part of our Grow Love philosophy I suppose, we do organic gardening practices here and then we like to help save all this plastic ending up in landfill.”
There is a collection point for the general public at their Tanunda garden but Denise said volunteers also collect lids from 15 cafes, three mobile cafes and a local winery.
Hewitt Primary School, St. Jakobi, Redeemer and Tanunda Lutheran Schools collect lids too, as does St. Petri Lutheran Church and the Bethany/Tabor Parish.
Sorting and bagging bottle caps into colours has become second nature for volunteers.
“It really is addictive! I’ve always got bottle tops home and I just sit in front of the telly and do it.”
As another side project, the Grow Love Community Garden recently sent away 41 kilograms of plastic tags.
“We’ve been collecting bread tags for the same amount of time,” said Denise.
“The bread tags are sold to a recycling place in Robe and the proceeds go to fund wheelchairs and mobility aids in Africa.”
The team are happy to continue both projects and welcome the opportunity to help the environment.
“We’re just doing our small part in saving the planet really.”