We had to install a green roof in Brooklyn with part of the roof being slanted. We wanted a product that was ecological as well as practical in terms of keeping the soil on the slope.

We found our solution in one of our favorite places: the dumpster.

We love the dumpster because every ounce of material you salvage from it means one ounce less in the landfill as well as one once less that needs to be manufactured to meet our needs. It is a double win.

And unless you have to spend time fixing the thing it is free. Triple win.

We also like creative reuse where a product that has reached the end of its life for one use can be reused for an entirely different use.

The material we found for the slanted green roof met all of these. To the untrained eye it looked like garbage:


It’s first life was as soda can holders for a deli. Who would have imagined it could be reused as a soil retention mat for a green roof? How many millions of these are thrown out each year? Yet they can serve for another 40 or 50 years in a green roof if the chain of disposal is done correctly.

For those of you who wondered how to do a slanted green roof as ecologically as possible here is a very good contender:

Step 1. Lay them out over the drainage mat.

Step 2. Pour growing medium over them. Notice how they hold the soil perfectly:

Step 3. Spread sedum cuttings and water. Voila! A slanted green roof grows in Brooklyn. The process is green AND the result is green. The act of creating a green roof literally REMOVED garbage from the world. Double green.