Finding Innovative Ways to Repurpose Old Hard Hats

Webcor Hard Hat Challenge

December 6, 2019


As Webcor jobsites make their transition to new chin-strap helmets, project teams encountered a dilemma: What should we do with our old hard hats?

At the 960 W 7th Street Project site in Los Angeles, Safety Manager Milton Rodas had an idea.

“Flower pots! As we were discussing how we could possibly repurpose the hard hats, the idea of flower pots came to me randomly,” he explains. “The dome shape of the hard hats lent itself to a pot, when turned upside down.”

In spite of facing some initial skepticism, Milton was on a mission. He hopped in his car and drove to the local Home Depot to stock up on dirt, succulents, flowers, small cactuses, and some Asian grass (“plants that could live in-doors with little care”), along with 4’ lengths of the cheapest chain they had and some S-hooks.

Equipped with all the materials needed, Milton began working on a few prototype hard hat flower pots during his lunch period.

“As people walked by, they had a good laugh at what I was doing – finally realizing I was actually serious about my idea,” says Milton. “They actually liked them! Our site laborers decided to give me a hand during their break by drilling the holes needed for the S-hooks on the rim of the hard hats.”

In less than 30 minutes, the first few pots were ready to go. Gradually, word spread around the jobsite and “in the end, everyone wanted a pot”! A team-building event will be scheduled to give all team members the opportunity to participate.

Milton is now urging Webcorians on all project sites to find innovative ways to repurpose their old hard hats. So far, two other Webcor teams have taken Milton up on the challenge.

At the 830 Eddy jobsite in Northern California, Safety Manager Greg Alves decided on building a “flower pot tree” after a google search led him to finding inspiration on Pinterest.

“Carpenter Alejandro Serrano did a great job in putting the tree together. Then we all brought in our old hard hats and choose a plant to hang on the stand,” he explains. “We are proud of our Hard Hat Plant Tree and have had a lot of compliments from our owner’s group, subcontractors and architects!”

Back in Southern California, the New Century Plaza team opted to take a different approach. Safety Coordinator Billy Barajas contacted a local preschool, giving kindergarteners and their teachers the opportunity to create their very own flowerpots.

After seeing the joy that the unused hard hats brought the young students, it’s hard to imagine that they would’ve otherwise ended up in a landfill.

“With less plastic being recycled into new materials, we learned that these hard hats would most likely end up in the landfill, which would come out to over a thousand Webcor helmets sitting in a dump indefinitely,” explains Assistant Sustainability Manager Natalie Wheating. “I’m really excited to see more unique and engaging programs come from Webcorians.”