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How one Florida man is going green for holiday season

'Tis the season to reduce, reuse and recycle

ORLANDO, Fla. – With the holiday season just a few weeks away, one man in central Florida is using plastic bottles for a Christmas display.

Felipe Rivera first did the project with 10,000 plastic bottles. It was so well-liked that this year, he decided to use 30,000 bottles for a new display.

"I grew up constantly protecting the environment and concerned about the environment, concerned about the ocean," Rivera, a native of Puerto Rico, said.

His family cultivated in him the importance of taking care of the ocean and it's sea life.

After moving to Orlando, where he is the events and festival art director at SeaWorld,  his priority hasn't changed. 

"In every single event I challenge myself to use recycled materials to present a form of art to inspire all of our guests in the park," Rivera said.

Last year, Felipe created his first Christmas tree with 10,000 plastic bottles collected from trash bins. After the bottles get cleaned, he paints them with a solid color like green, orange, red, blue, pink or yellow.

While the paint is still wet, he coats the bottles in glitter and after they have dried, he cuts the bottles into strips that end up looking like bright colorful stars. The star-like bottles are then placed on a tree shaped from wire. 

This year, Felipe is using 30,000 bottles to create a 16-foot Christmas tree and five new wreaths for display at SeaWorld. 

It's his love for the ocean that keeps him creating different ways to help marine life.

"It's extremely special to be part of the SeaWorld team and to be able to send a message to the conservation from protecting our marine animals," Rivera said. "By doing this we are aware and inspire the guest to protect our environment. For me, means the world because by doing this, I feel like I do a little contribution."

The Christmas display will be set up at the ticket plaza as of Nov. 5. 


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