Christmas decorations made from plastic bottles can be found dotted around Canillas de Aceituno / j. rhodes

Canillas de Aceituno’s sustainable Christmas

A group of women have made more than fifty decorations for the village’s streets and squares using around 5,000 recycled plastic bottles

Eugenio Cabezas

Concepción Bonilla, María del Carmen Jiménez, María Jesús Hidalgo, Carmen Ramírez and Concepción Morales are a group of women from Canillas de Aceituno who love doing crafts. This time last year, during the first Christmas of the pandemic, they decided to channel their creativity and Christmas spirit by making decorations for the village. Aware of the environmental emergency and especially plastics recycling, they came up with the idea of making Christmas decorations out of plastic bottles.

The result is over 50 decorations, including giant Christmas presents dotted around a children’s playground and angels adorning the town hall building, as well as traditional Malaga biznaga flowers, bouquets of flowers, stars and even raisins, which pay tribute to one of the Axarquía’s most important crops.

The most spectacular, without a doubt, is the five-metre-high Christmas tree located in the town hall square, right at the entrance to the El Saltillo route. A total of 2,010 milk bottles were used to make it. "Imagine the work involved," said councillor for Education and Culture, Remedios Ruiz, who thanked the women "for their dedication, ingenuity and originality."

"For now we have decorated eleven streets and squares, but they are still working. They are asking neighbours to keep their bottles and then the group collect them door to door," explained the councillor, who went on to say that the town hall has also provided some of the items they needed, such as paint pots, wires, metal structures and other containers. "The idea is to expand the collection every year," said Ruiz, who explained that the paint they use is "totally waterproof in case it rains, which happened last year.”

The mayor of Canillas de Aceituno, Vicente Campos, also thanked the women’s "generosity" for the "magnificent" initiative which he said was an added attraction for visitors going to the village to do the El Saltillo route. Campos went on to say, "As well as decorating our streets in an original way, we are sending out an environmental message about the importance of recycling, especially plastic, which is used so much."

An angel outside the town hall building. /