Downtown Huntsville visitors may have seen a new bench in front of the Patio Cafe, but few know what it took to put it there. 

The local chapter of the Huntsville Lions Club began collecting plastic bags in October to convert into a bench in Downtown Huntsville. The club met on Thursday to dedicate the bench in front of the Patio Cafe.

“We felt that this project would be a great benefit to the city and the environment,” Huntsville Lion Club member Polly Pittman said. “This cost nothing to residents, but it will be a part of our community for years to come. We hope it brings comfort and happiness to visitors.”

In order to create a bench from plastic bags, over 500 pounds of plastic were required. Lions created collection stations throughout Huntsville to collect the bags and worked with the recycling center to collect their unuseable plastic.

“We collaborated with the Trex company, who took the bags and compressed them and eventually created the bench,” Pittman added. “It took over 40,000 plastic bags to gather 500 pounds of plastic and we were happy to keep it out of the landfill.”

A second park bench is also set to be unveiled after Lions collected an additional 500 pounds of plastic and sent it to Trex two weeks ago. The bench is set to be dedicated in a little over a month near the Josey Lodge.

“This project has started to become a trend within Lions and Leos clubs, with several branches in Houston doing the same thing,” project organizer and Lion Pat Speer said. “I think it can be a benefit to your community no matter where you are. It keeps plastic from our landfills and creates pretty spaces in cities.”

Plastic drop-off locations are at Vera Bank, Snap Fitness, Curves in Huntsville and Willis, Creekside Retirement, Prosperity Bank in Willis, Tall Pines Quilt Guild, McCoy’s and the Sam Houston Funeral Home.

“We are not only accepting plastic bags, but also newspaper covers, ziplock bags and any type of stretchable plastic,” Speer added. “We have no plans currently to end this project. Hopefully we can continue this project and place benches throughout downtown.”