Teen constructs a Gatorade tower
BRECKENRIDGE – Through a mathematical puzzle, George Lowrey figured out how to create a pyramid with the 1,330 empty Gatorade bottles he collected during the last school year.And after about 10 hours of work, it stood a colorful 13-feet-high with 19 stories of 20-ounce plastic bottles on his back porch in Breckenridge.
Lowrey will soon be a sophomore at Summit High School, and as a student in the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme, he decided to take on this task for his personal project. Students have nine months to complete a creative, ingenious project of their choice, keep a diary on the progress and write about the endeavor. Examples of other projects that have been done include building a violin or writing a musical composition, explained George’s mom, Melanie Lowrey.When Lowrey started collecting the bottles from friends at school, he didn’t really know what he’d do with them. But soon, Gatorade bottles were filling his friends’ lockers and building into piles at his home. Then, while talking about the ever-growing collection with friends and family, the idea for a pyramid surfaced.He recently completed the task – that required a ladder for the final layers of orange-capped bottles – with a little help from his brother, James, a junior at SHS. In the end, he’d used all but a few of the bottles he’d collected.
“I was afraid it might be bigger,” Lowrey smiled, adding that Gatorade is a popular drink at school.To keep the tower solid, the bottles on the outside are filled with water and glued together. Also, some strategically placed nickels helped slightly-off bottles balance better.”It’s like a little treasure chest in there because every now and then it wasn’t quite level,” said Melanie with a laugh.
Once the construction came to an end, Lowrey decided to try and determine the future of his creative project. He called the Gatorade company to see how the bottles are used when they are recycled. The company responded that they are composed of number one and number five plastics and would go wherever those plastics are taken, he said.So, he and his mom called the High Country Conservation Center to see if they could get a more definite track. Once it is disassembled, the Lowreys hope to work with the conservation group to discover what these plastics will become.”It’s an on-going project to try and figure out where all the recycling ends up,” Melanie said.
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