An eco-friendly and super stylish substitute for conventional waste disposal has been suggested by a small island off of Panama. Isla Colon in the Bocas del Toro archipelago encloses the world’s first Plastic Bottle Village.
Many years ago, the project was created by Canadian Robert Bezeau after he moved to the Bocas islands. He told that the village was started by him after he observed troubling amounts of plastic scattered across the island’s beaches. According to him, he had to find a way to utilize them after a year and a half of cleaning and came up with a plan to use them as a building material for new generation housing, named as the ‘Plastic Bottle Village’.
“People have changed. The world has changed. If we got to a point where we need to drink water in plastic bottles, we surely have changed! Humans have now reached an increasing volume of 7.3 billion people on the planet. If each one of us drinks only one bottle a day, we are looking at 2.6 trillion bottles a year.”
About 20,000 bottles based on two main layers have been used in a large house built in Bezeau’s design. The primary layer contains bottles stuffed into simple wire mesh caging that covers a second cage made of steel rebars. These bottle-filled boxes act as insulation for each house. The last step is to cover the walls with concrete.
Building bottle houses costs less as compared to constructing completely-cemented houses, as per Bezeau. Besides, electricity is also not required by the process to complete.
Bottles are unexpectedly very good insulators. The houses can be kept about 35 degrees cooler as compared to the neighboring Panamanian jungle with the help of these bottles. Therefore, this method assists people in living comfortably without electricity being used on air conditioning. In addition to all this, the buildings are also unbelievably durable, safe in circumstances like floods and earthquakes and the bottles act as flotation devices in case of emergency.
Bezeau intends to grow the Plastic Bottle Village to over 120 homes. He also plans to build a yoga pavilion, small parks for gatherings and a boutique. Besides, an eco-lodge to house a community vegetable, fruit and herb garden would also be included in the community.
According to Bezeau:
“Unless developed countries organize, unite, and educate the developing countries, and give them an incentive to pick-up and reuse the plastic bottles already discarded, we all loose! I want the world to realize that we can reuse plastic bottles in many other applications such as; Home insulation, rapid temporary shelters after disasters, buildings for the animal on farms, swimming pools, water catchment tanks, land drainages, barns, roads, septic tanks and moreover. In fact, we can reuse the plastic bottles in so many applications, that they could become endangered species.”
Also, the locality of the Plastic Bottle Village opens itself up to the potential for solar energy. Furthermore, there are numerous water streams near the village, thereby arranging for a fresh water source for the residents.
A short documentary made by a filmmaker David Freid in recent times takes us behind the scenes of building one of the houses and shows that you can always find eco-friendly alternatives to reuse and refurbish our waste, eventually decreasing our carbon footprints.