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GES collects nearly 10,000 plastic bottle caps for bottle cap mural project
Kalli Hawkins

GES collects nearly 10,000 plastic bottle caps for bottle cap mural project

For the past eight months, the students at Great Expectations School have helped design, create, and build three murals, primarily out of plastic bottle caps.

The mural project, spearheaded by kindergarten teacher Anne Mundell, aims to raise awareness of recycling and the amount of plastic waste in Cook County.

“I think we’re all aware in Cook County that 1 and 2 (plastics) is recyclable, but 5 is not,” Mundell said. “And a lot of bottle caps are number 5, and so they’re being thrown away.”

Mundell said the bottle cap mural also intentionally provided a collaborative art project for the kids to work on throughout the school year. Many of the older students paired up with the younger students to help screw each bottle cap to the wood mural. “To me, that was really the most special part,” she said. “I could stand back and watch kind of magic happen.”

While the project needs a few more specifically colored bottle caps to complete it, Mundell said she estimates the school collected nearly 10,000 plastic bottle caps in total.

“Looking at how much plastic we use is pretty astonishing,” Mundell said.

The bottle cap mural project was made possible by an Arrowhead Regional Arts Council grant opportunity, which covered the supplies for the project.

Following the grant’s approval, Mundell and the other Great Expectations School teachers began working on the mural’s design, settling on the animals that represent each classroom: a bear cub, fawn, wolf, beaver, otter, and lynx.

“So it’s really a special piece of artwork too that has both a mix of who we are and where we live,” Mundell said. “And then also some of the challenges we face today.”

WTIP’s Kalli Hawkins stopped by Great Expectations School to speak with Anne Mundell and see the three-part bottle cap mural project. The audio and photos are below.