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NorPen Regional Service Board gets artistic with mural made of bottle caps

Joanna Pohl, NorPen’s research, programs and development coordinator, presented the mural to students at White Hills Academy in St. Anthony on Friday, June 21.
Joanna Pohl, NorPen’s research, programs and development coordinator, presented the mural to students at White Hills Academy in St. Anthony on Friday, June 21. - Stephen Roberts

NorPen waste management board hopes mural initiative will change perceptions on waste

GREAT NORTHERN PENINSULA, N.L. – The NorPen Regional Service Board is using art to inspire green thinking on the Great Northern Peninsula.
The waste management board, based on the Northern Peninsula, recently unveiled a colourful mural designed entirely with bottle caps and can tabs.
It was done as part of the board’s ‘Recycle the Rock’ program, finding creative new uses for items routinely discarded as waste.
According to Joanna Pohl, NorPen’s research, programs and development coordinator, the idea behind the initiative is to change people’s perception of what is waste and what still has use value; which reveals, for instance, that a bottle cap can be used for art.
“If you’re walking towards the garbage can and you got a handful of caps and stoppers, but then you remember we’ve got this program, then in that instant, your perception is changed from, ‘I got a handful of waste’ to ‘I got a handful of valuable art material,'” she explained. “That’s the overall philosophy of our recycling and waste diversion programs: to change perceptions in a lasting and sustainable way.”
Pohl adds it’s all part of the board’s long-term goal to keep as much waste as possible out of the landfill site and to keep service fees to a minimum.
The mural was completed during the Iceberg Festival, held from June 7 to 16. 

The mural was made entirely of bottle caps and can tabs.
The mural was made entirely of bottle caps and can tabs.


The finished product, depicting the Iceberg Festival logo, a recycling logo and a whale with the NorPen logo, a leaf, in its mouth, was put on display at the Polar Centre on June 15.
The board started collecting bottle caps for the project in March. By the time the Iceberg Festival rolled around it had eight shrimp bags full of bottle caps.
Meanwhile, Pohl’s daughter, Max, completed a drawing to use as the mural’s design template.
On a four-by-eight foot quarter-inch piece of plywood, they drew out the design with paint and then painted the whole thing over. Later, they attached the caps using hot glue. They didn’t count the exact number of caps they used, but it was about four bags in total. They also used drink can tabs to design the whale’s mouth.
On June 20, the board delivered the mural at White Hills Academy in St. Anthony for display until the end of the school year.
The board intends to do more murals and to involve every school in its territory in making one. It will also present a workshop package to anyone interested in doing a mural of their own.
Pohl says if someone wants to do a mural, they can contact her at the NorPen office at 454-3750. 
The board will then send out a guide, detailing the various materials needed and the steps to complete a mural of your own.
She says the board can also do mini-workshops to help people get started.

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