Under the blue sky of summer’s final day, graduate students from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Horn Point Laboratory (HPL) joined Cambridge City officials in the newly renovated Cannery Park for the dedication of a park bench. This bench is special because it is made of 100% recycled plastics. “In an effort to reduce plastic in our landfills and local waterways, Horn Point Laboratory students collected plastic bottle caps to be converted into a 6 foot park bench,” said Anna Windle, a Ph.D. student who led the student effort “The bench was donated to the Town of Cambridge with the hope of encouraging residents to live a more sustainable life by reducing or recycling their plastic usage.”
Horn Point Lab students spearheaded a campus wide recycling program, collecting over 120 pounds of plastic caps to provide the needed material to produce the bench. The graduate students at Horn Point Laboratory study how to solve some of society's most pressing environmental issues, one being the environmental burden of plastic pollution. Windle delivered several loads of plastic caps to Eco Plastics of Delaware, a nonprofit that collects discarded plastics and converts them into useful and sustainable products such as, picnic tables, lumber and benches.
The bench provides a place to sit and enjoy the trail now connecting Washington and Cedar Streets and runs behind the Packing House. The blue, green and gray colors depict Cambridge’s connection to the Chesapeake. The dedication plaque reads: “Made out of 127 pounds of recycled, plastic bottle caps and gifted to the Town of Cambridge from the graduate students at the Horn Point Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.”
With ongoing research programs spanning from the estuarine waters of the Chesapeake Bay to the open waters of the world's oceans, UMCES is a national leader in applying environmental research and discovery to solve society’s most pressing environmental problems. At its Horn Point Laboratory, located on more than 800 acres on the banks of the Choptank River onMaryland's Eastern Shore, scientists are widely respected for their interdisciplinary programs in oceanography, water quality, restoration of seagrasses, marshes and shellfish and for expertise in ecosystem modeling.