Just before Christmas this tree was assembled in front of the town hall.
It looked so pretty that I took a picture (or two) of it.
On my lunch break today and noticed this article on the local website – just thought I would share
Our thought-provoking ‘recycled’ Christmas tree has been months in the making and it all started with a ‘rubbish’ joke. This week we met the brains – and the drive – behind the project, marketing officer Jessica Bunker.
How did the idea of the recycled Christmas tree come about?
When I joined the council’s marketing team in February this year, I was given the task of coming up with innovative ways to encourage more people to recycle more of their household waste. The borough has a big target to reach of recycling 50% of household waste by 2020, so we needed to think of new ways to shock people and really get them thinking.
We wanted to physically show people just how must waste could be recycled and joked about dumping a big pile of rubbish in front of the town hall. This joke evolved over time and when I worked out the timings of this project I realised it could have a Christmas focus – and the idea of the tree was born.
What is the tree made out of?
The tree is constructed out of 20 metal circles of different sizes, which are fixed around one central pole. It sits on a large metal frame and features 900 individually attached empty plastic bottles.
A strip of energy efficient neon flex lighting is used to give the tree its green, festive glow. This lighting is normally used along to illuminate buildings or stages. The way it’s been used on the tree is a bit unusual and has led to the artist being featured on some design websites and forums.
How did the design of the tree come about?
It’s an alarming statistic that 900 recyclable bottles are used in the UK every two seconds. Rather than just presenting this fact to people, we wanted to find a way to showcase it.
The layout of the tree was intentional because its shape allows people passing-by to see every single bottle, making them realise that 900 bottles is an incredibly large amount.
What challenges did you encounter during this project?
Bringing everyone together and making sure we were all on the same page was quite a challenge. There were so many teams and individuals involved in the project, so keeping them all in the loop got tricky at times. The teams involved were highways, street lighting, health and safety, regeneration, facilities management, town hall staff, along with the recycling and marketing and communications teams.
Also, it was difficult to find an artist that we were confident in and had experience in creating outdoor installations. In the end, we chose artist Ashley Phillips and he’s done a great job.
What was the most exciting thing about this project?
Simply that I’ve had scope to carry out a project like this. I was able to think outside the box and come up with an idea that has the potential to have a significant impact on a wider audience.
It’s also been amazing that everyone I approached about the tree was just as excited about it as I was. I think that’s what made it work.
What has been the highlight of this project for you?
Definitely the day the tree went up. Watching it take shape was really amazing. We started the day with pieces of metal and plastic bottles and ended the day with an original and beautiful Christmas tree.
That day was also a huge relief as there was a few points throughout the project that I thought it may not all come together and, until it was built, I wasn’t completely sure it would look as good as it does.
I’m really proud of how it’s turned out and would like to thank everyone who played a role in making it happen.
Are there any more recycling projects to come?
Yes, there’s plenty more to come. More Christmas-related recycling messages will hit our train, tube and bus stations this month. In January, we’ll be launching an exciting CGI billboard campaign (look out for them around the borough in more than 60 locations) and we’ll continue with our celebrity-endorsed campaign in Southall.