Colorful New Benches Popping Up Around Watertown are Made from Recycled Bottle Caps

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One of the benches around Watertown made from recycled plastic bottle caps. (Courtesy of City of Watertown)

Scattered across different parts of Watertown are colorful benches with a surprising element to them, they are made out of recycled plastic bottle caps.

The Watertown Department of Public Works (DPW) has been working with Plastic Recycled for over a year when they started making eco bricks.

“They were making eco bricks which are the things where you stuff lots of non-recyclable single use plastic into a bottle and they use it for construction,” said Recycling Coordinator, Anya Pforzheimer.

The company had asked the DPW if it could be a drop off center for the plastic. Through that communication the founder of Plastic Recycled, Nathan Gray, asked the DPW if they wanted to be a part of a new program.

“He said ‘would you be interested in this pilot program that we’re doing, which is if the city collects 500 pounds of plastic caps, we’ll give you a free bench’ and I said ‘sure,’ not really having any idea if anyone in the city would be interested or if it would take off at all,” said Pforzheimer.

From there Plastic Recycled takes the donated bottle caps to their facility where the benches are created.

“Essentially, he just takes all of the small plastic and grinds it up and excretes it into the boards. So unlike a lot of other plastic recycling which involves adding a lot more chemicals into the process, this is essentially just grinding it up,” said Pforzheimer.

After that part of the process is completed the company melts the plastic, then excreting it. This leads to the result of the benches that are made out of 500 donated bottle caps. The DPW has seen a positive reaction to the bottle caps. Residents have been donating caps regularly.

“It’s a totally optional program where residents, if they want to collect them at home and bring them in, they can. It turns out that there’s a lot of residents that are interested in doing it, which is awesome,” said Pforzheimer. “We’ve definitely, I would say collected maybe 2,000 or 3,000, we’ve collected a lot.”

Benches are placed all over Watertown, and ideas for new spots are already brewing.

“I’m still working with the Senior Center to figure out if they have a concrete slab because it needs to be drilled in. But right now there’s four near the CVS on Main Street. It’s kind of like an artist walk over there, so there’s benches there. There’s one at the DPW so people can see what they look like and there’s one at the Recycling Center,” said Pforzheimer.

The DPW hopes that residents continue to donate their bottle caps and recognize the significance of this new idea.

“It’s very cool. To get to see exactly where one stream of recycling is going. Because a lot of times it can feel kind of nebulous, like, ‘oh, we put it in our bins and then it gets picked up and then it goes to a sorting facility and then it gets sent out to all different places,’” said Pforzheimer. “But this is one tangible stream, where we’re collecting the caps, they’re going to a specific vendor, and they’re getting turned into benches. we can see the whole loop, which I think is kind of interesting and we don’t always get that in the recycling world.”

Residents can enter to win a bottle cap bench at the Faire on the Square. (Courtesy of City of Watertown)

The Department of Public Works announced that people can win a bench in a raffle at the Faire on the Square:

Win a Watertown Bench! Visit the Department of Public Works (DPW) table at Faire on the Square on Saturday, September 23, 2023 between 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to enter a free raffle to win one of the new Watertown benches. They are made from plastic caps and lids, collected by residents. The raffle will only be open to enter during the event. The winner will be announced the following week.

30 thoughts on “Colorful New Benches Popping Up Around Watertown are Made from Recycled Bottle Caps

  1. Can’t be too many benches for what it adds to community wellness. Seniors to rest and enjoy. Friends to sit and chat. Lots of benefits. Daycare centers could use them.

  2. This is a wonderful program! My family has enthusiastically been collecting caps since this was announced, and we’re always amazed at how full the collection bins are when we drop off our caps at the DPW building. I’d love to see a few of these benches around the Hosmer School playgrounds. They’d be a colorful addition to the area and would give parents much needed places to sit while watching their kids after school.

  3. This is terrific to learn and read about, nice to know. It will be fun to discover the benches throughout the City of Watertown, no less, utilitarian. They look really colorful, too. I want to win one!

    Thanks for the information.

    • Charlie- I know we all have the privilege of the first amendment, but this is outright bigotry. Assuming the “LGBQ” is a failed attempt at “LGBTQIA+”- Anything we can do about deleting this vitriol for violation of user agreements?

      • The rules are “Commenters must sign full real names. No foul language. No insults, slights or personal attacks.” I felt that while many may disagree with the statement it was the commenter’s opinion and not directed at any one person.

          • Now, now. DEIB applies even when you do not agree with someone’s comments. Apparently it is a one way street for some.

            Mr. Clifford is perfectly entitled to express his views the way he did it. Of course, censorship attempts immediately pop out from the usual places. Disagreement is OK, silencing is not.

        • I have no problem with people expressing opinions as long as they are clearly marked as opinions and NOT fact. I have a problem when the expresser calls foul on others who characterize their opinions negatively. Free speech does not occur in a vacuum.
          If one expresses views that are characterized as absurd, racist, amoral, disturbing, jackassery-like, mad, abhorrent, devoid of any integrity, regressive, base, implausible, sophomoric, moronic, unreasonable, full of sophistries, manipulative, a poor attempt to control the narrative, puritanical, lame, lacking foresight, ahistorical, asinine, ugly. smallminded, blatantly malicious etc., then others are free to say so.
          Free speech cuts both ways. One doesn’t get to walk into a room full of sycophants and spew. That room will have people who will call that spew a spade.

        • “Word salad,” connoting confusion, is a familiar tactic used by those who want to dismiss speech that they don’t appreciate. Expletives much more straight-foward, but prohibited A string of adjectives doesn’t have the same effect.

          Removing the string of adjectives.

          I have no problem with people expressing opinions as long as they are clearly marked as opinions and NOT fact. I have a problem when the expresser calls foul on others who characterize their opinions negatively.
          Free speech does not occur in a vacuum. If one expresses views that are characterized as b*******, then others are free to say so. Free speech cuts both ways. One doesn’t get to walk into a room full of sycophants and spew. That room will have people who will call that spew a spade.

    • Just because LGBTQ+ persons use a rainbow to identify their groups, that doesn’t mean that EVERY colorful thing is created to represent them. (duh) Thanks to the Watertown News for spreading the word about these new benches. I love the aesthetics and hope to sit in one soon!

    • Mr. Clifford, I appreciate your honesty. But do you prefer a black and white world to one of color? Where everyone is the same or appears so. I believe the LGBQ community you dislike are just people who are honest with their feeling, just like you. Maybe you can find some comfort in that.

    • Don’t everybody all of the sudden get shocked about these comments. When our District B Councilor Lisa Feltner held her campaign event at Will’s house last cycle it was brought up that she should change the venue because some members of the community would not feel welcome there. The author of that request got completely dragged through the mud for just telling the truth.

      These comments aren’t anything new and the people that make them have the full support of our elected officials.

      • So much for love thy neighbor, if you don’t care for someone’s thoughts that may not agree with yours don’t go! Mr. Clifford is a resident the same as you are, for all the things you preach seems to be forgotten here. The man is a Veteran who fought for the freedoms we all enjoy, including the speech you are now using against him . You fail to mention the opposing candidate to Councilor Feltner in the last Election, obviously Lisa represents all, can’t play pick & choose that may suite you. As for your bold statement of elected officials, can you provide actual proof of what they think or say to back up your statement? I for one am tired of hearing untruths, about Watertown

        • And here comes Dennis right on queue. Sometimes we show tough love to our neighbors by being critical of the statements they make.

          My family has been killing for this countries freedoms for the last +200 years.(We got so good at it they even made a movie about one of us) We have been in every war this country has been in and fought on both sides during the one where we fought ourselves so knock the “he’s a veteran” schtick, like it absolves him of his bigotry.

          I am not using his speech against him, I am sure the “LGBQ” in Watertown, some of them his neighbors, would love to hear about how he is revolted by them. And how he wants to project that hatred at some colorful benches that were install around the city. Maybe Mr. Clifford can use that freedom of speech he fought so hard for and clarify what he meant by his comments. If he doesn’t like to write, maybe Linda Scott can help him out. She is quiet excellent at putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys)

          No politician represents everyone, they represent the a majority and Mr. Clifford and his views are part of that here in District B. And sometimes politicians don’t show support for a view by the statements they make, but more by the statements they don’t make.

          • I’ve got to say that I have never seen a Veteran being out Vetrand by someone who more than likely never served. Or dragging in someone who for their writing skills, would it be the “Delta series” or the fact of being part of something else like gathering 600 signatures, that may have tweaked you. I would like to thank you for the insight of your “kitchen table conversations” and what awaits us with your human rights commision that ya’ll so embrace, kindly end the back and forth and just repeat your Kingian training, best wishes

          • 1) I like Linda’s writing skills , she does a great job researching her historical posts. I “dragged” her in because it seems she enjoys writing columns for this site. I would love to read how Mr. Clifford is able to project all of his internal hatred and revolt for the “LGBQ” at a bunch of inanimate rainbow colored park benches.

            2) I didn’t serve because my father (who served 25 years) explicitly asked me not to. And though that wasn’t the only reason, it was at the top of the list and the others didn’t really matter after that.

            3) Don’t ask me to “stop the back and forth” when you are the one that decided to chirp back at my comment.

  4. The opinion or any other opinions about something associated with LGBTQ+ being revolting are opinions.
    Facts include the following: Discriminating against people who are LGBTQ+ is unconstitutional. Erasing or ignoring the history of a people is a tactic to dehumanize people, Political Science 101. Portraying a people as something deviant, when the facts show that the deviant acts are perpetrated by others (90% of grooming and sexual crimes committed against boys and girls are done by straight males) is the very definition of scapegoating. And ultimately, who cares? There are so many people and things that I find revolting but when all the parties are adults and consenting it’s their business.

      • Exactly! The original post inserts the association and then makes a derogatory remark about the association. I thought the bench maker just threw in a bunch of bottle caps and this is what came out, like those bottle of colored sand.

    • That’s a sensible, thoughtful comment. I suspect some in this forum would complain vociferously if any of the benches’ colors schemes would remotely resemble, say, the Confederate flag. But they would characterize such complaints as facts, not opinions. Of course. And predictable.

    • Watertown tax payers just wrote a $7m check to settle a lawsuit against the Police department and one of their officers was recently suspended and charged with rape.

      If they want a bench, they can pay for it out of their own pockets and not the tax payers

  5. I, for one, think these benches are AWESOME! I LOVE the bright colors and look forward to seeing them installed all over town for ALL to enjoy.

  6. I find it sad that hate is the first thing a person goes when the actual article is about benches made of recycling plastic! Geez, how are colorful plastic recycled benches revolting/hurting you? All groups of folks should be respected. I’m hoping you can get out and meet some of the great Watertown residents that just happen to also be LGBQT+(no person should be defined by only their sexuality IMO). I feel you will find there are things you can find in similar. Looking at the article there were red and blue bench pictured too.. does this revolt you because you associated this one with say another group? So so sad. Thanks to Watertown for making waste into something bright and functional! I look forward to looking for these benches! Hoping maybe one can be setup at a dog park or at the Elementary schools, bus stops in future.

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