As you may have heard, Concord, Mass. has taken a very hard stance on one of the most pervasive manmade scourges on the natural environment, single-serving bottled water, by placing an outright prohibition on its sale within town limits. As a result, Concord residents will now have to travel to neighboring Boston burbs to get their 1 liter Poland Springs fix. Either that or they'll have to commit a most shocking act: Fill up a reusable water bottle from the tap.

Over in Portugal, Lisbon-based design firm Colectivo da Rainha has teamed up with eco-minded bottled water purveyor Serra da Estrela and “social innovation project” Remix to tackle the issue of plastic water bottle waste in a decidedly more creative manner than the activists behind the bottle-based brouhaha in Concord:  they're making birdhouses out of discarded empties.

I totally realize that repurposing PET water bottles to make new products such as birdhouses and banning their sale are completely different creatures. However, the core goal — keeping those suckers as far away from landfills as possible — is somewhat similar, I suppose.

An (unedited) explanation from the designers:
Experimenting with the material properties we came to understand that it can be molded with heat and be shaped to as many forms as we liked, loosing the cheap feel and become of value.
From here on, all the ideas got together and the birdhouse made sense, just like with the Transparent Vases, following the same concept and the environmental policies of the water company, only it also sends out an iconic message, a home for nature in our home.
Using a water bottle only to make each birdhouse and leaving the bottleneck as the entrance and the handle as the bird perch.
The resulting design is clever enough although I'm not going to resort to the (tongue-in-cheek) histrionics employed over at Grist and refer to "Plastic Bird House" as the most "sickeningly adorable" instance of recycling ever. Because it's not. And as if you haven't noticed this in the above product shot already, that little fellow perched in the open palms of that smiling senhora isn't real in the very least. I would like to think, however, that such interactions are indeed possible after installing a "Plastic Bird House" outside of one's home.
I should also mention that, according to Colectivo de Rainha, the birdhouses will be made a small team of previously out of work artisans which is a good thing. Overall, it seems that just about everyone and everything walks away happy here: the well-meaning water company, the design firm, the now-working artisans, the birds, the environment. 

And in other international designer birdhouse related news, it appears that Dutch designer Klaas Kuiken’s also clever — but somewhat questionable — ceramic Birdhouse Rooftile, a concept that I first blogged about back in the fall of 2010, has finally gone into production

Via [Design-Milk], [Grist]

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Plastic Birdhouse: Water bottle waste gives winged beauties a place to perch
A Portuguese design firm has found a clever way to repurpose an all-too-common form of plastic waste while also creating 'a home for nature in our home.'