Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Plastic Fantastic Home

It takes 450 years for a plastic bottle to decompose. Americans consume 70 million plastic bottles every day. And 80% of plastic bottles are not recycled. I grabbed all of those figures from sources found on the internet. Even if we cut them in half, it’s still alarming. That’s why it’s cool to see innovative recycling. Take a family in Argentina who constructed their home from plastic bottles. La Casa de Botellas, or House of Bottles, used 1,200 PET plastic bottles for its walls and 1,300 milk and wine Tetra Pack containers for its roof. Using the same concept, a U.S. nonprofit, called Hug It Forward has built seven bottle schools in Guatemala. Walls are constructed with plastic bottles collected from the communities’ trash, streets, and homes. To add insulation, plastic bags and other inorganic trash are stuffed in the bottles. The bottles become eco-blocks, which are stacked between chicken wire, and covered in cement. They replace traditional cinder blocks and apparently independent structural analysis has testified to the strength and safety of the buildings. In Hug It Forward’s first project in Granados, Guatemala, in October 2009, over 5,000 plastic bottles were used to build two classrooms, containing 2,053 lbs. of trash and using 9,720 lbs. of cement. Currently, 300 children attend the school, which serves a community of 13,860. Pretty cool, heh?

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