DUVALL, Wash. — Axton Burton knows exactly how many jars are in the walls of this greenhouse:
"There are 4516 jars."
Because Axton scrubbed Every. Single. One.
"I'm a master cleaner now so you can name any of these bottles and I can tell you what was inside of them. Pickles, marinara, hot mustard was in a lot of them for some reason. The tiny ones are sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, there are nail polish bottles as well, which were nice to have.”
Axton — with the help of partner James — created the ultimate upcycling project in Duvall: A greenhouse made of glass jars that would have been otherwise fated to the recycling bin.
“My need for a greenhouse but also to be able to help the earth and just repurpose stuff."
Axton's father built the frame — they sourced the jars from Eastside neighborhood Facebook groups.
Inside, they’ve re-purposed everything from cat food cans — now candleholders.
To corks — now a decorative molding around the door frame.
What began as a low-cost greenhouse quickly turned into a passion project and soon people were asking to visit the beautiful little building that wastes not a thing. Even the lids are used, they dangle along one wall with ‘Thank You’s’ written on them from folks who have visited — a guest book with entries written on recycled lids.
The lids are brightly painted with nail polish — harvested from hundreds of tiny bottles Axton salvaged to fill in the gaps.
“Kids are very excited to put their name on them which is nice, I hope it helps them learn to repurpose things as well,” Axton said.
This greenhouse will be more than a home for the exotic plants Axton and James raise.
Some jars face outward, offering nest-building materials for birds and bees.
"I think it'll be really fun to be inside just seeing nature interacting with something that I built."
Word of Axton’s creation has gone nationwide:
“I posted on Next Door, which I thought was just for locals, and I woke up the next day and it was people in Eastern Washington saying, 'How do I do this? How do I build this?' And then the next morning I woke up to people in 16 different states, mostly teachers, asking, 'How do I build this?'”
So far people from Oklahoma, North and South Carolina, New Jersey, and New York have reached out to Axton.
They're happy to share building tips, but this house is not for sale.
“I think it's incredible, it's really incredible what he's done, what he's inspired other people to do,” said James Weber, Axton’s partner.
This expert upcycler — and chief bottle washer — hopes this greenhouse will encourage us all to look differently at what we throw away and consider turning it into something beautiful.
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