A village made entirely of plastic bottles being built in Panama is actually structurally-sound and keeps the houses insulated while helping the environment.
Robert Bezeau, the founder of the project, is in the process of building 120 houses to complete the village. Each house will have a steel frame filled with plastic bottles and coated in concrete.
Though steel and concrete are not ideal building materials, plastic bottles surprisingly are. Besides the fact that each house uses at least 10,000 recycled plastic bottles, which is great for the environment, the air in the bottles acts as an insulator and keeps the house at a cool 62 degrees Fahrenheit without any extra energy.
With the help of local architects, the group behind the project designed three structurally-sound homes that are earthquake-resistant and fit the plumbing, electricity, and standard doors and windows needed to complete the homes.
Bezeau explained how the concept is not only eco-friendly but very practical in terms of labor time and cost:
“The re-use of its core materials allows the Plastic Bottle Village to build homes in a fraction of the time and at a huge savings in the cost of re-construction, compared to the traditional materials used locally.”
The village is set to be built on 83 acres of beautiful land surrounded by hilltops, fresh water streams, and valleys. In addition to the homes, the village will feature community gardens, a boutique lodge, mini parks for outdoor activities and gatherings, and green zones.
Bezeau first moved to Panama several years ago and saw the problem that plastic bottles and other waste were creating in his community. He started a recycling program and in 1.5 years had collected an estimated one million plastic bottles from the landfills that would have otherwise been toxically burnt or buried in the community’s one landfill.
As for the idea to use the bottles to create a village, that came to Bezeau in a dream. He turned that dream into a reality and has even gone so far as to develop an educational facility to teach others how to use recycled bottles to create infrastructure.
He talked about this use of bottles:
“This style of home building takes a green approach and the owners of the properties will share a conscious, earth friendly shift in their way of living. We will be living inside what we have consumed and thrown away, and will re-construct those materials into modern, stylish, and quality-built residencies.”
The impact of this village is small but effective considering how many plastic bottles get thrown away each year. With a population of 7.3 billion people on the planet today, a total of 2.6 trillion bottles could end up in the landfills each year if every person drinks from one bottle per day.
Bezeau stresses the fact that developed nations need to become more aware and care more about the rapid increase in plastic waste. Developed countries have the most waste and yet do the least when it comes to keeping our world clean.
As the environmentalist said,
We are “changing the world, without changing the Earth, one home at a time.”
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