Recycling Building Products, Phillipines

by W.
(Alberta, Canada)

Rethinking the Lowly Plastic Bottle

The Bottle School Project

In the Philippines, recycled building products have gone beyond salvaging materials from old projects or repurposing old furniture for something else in a home or new project.

My Shelter Foundation is taking the lowly discarded plastic soda bottles and making them the building blocks- literally- of much needed school buildings in the country.

These bottles were filled with liquefied adobe and left to dry for half a day. Bottles were then stacked up like bricks with cement and steel bars to hold them in place.

These formed the walls and foundation of the school buildings. These adobe filled bottles were dubbed “eco bricks” and are cheaper than concrete blocks and nearly three times stronger. This is an important feature for the typhoon country.

Because of the relative economical costs to make these eco bricks, this serves as a great solution to address the shortage of available classrooms that are needed to meet the needs of the growing student population of the country.

According to the founder of My Shelter Foundation, Illac Diaz, nearly every town produces enough plastic bottle waste to construct a classroom every two weeks. How’s that for reduce, reuse and recycle?

The Solar Bottle Bulb

My Shelter Foundation is all about green technology and making available to the people who need it the most- the people who are at the grassroots level. This is why they have taken sustainable technology to a whole new level with rethinking the lowly plastic bottle.

In addition to the bottle school project, there other project which has gone global with installations not only in the Philippines, but also in countries like Brazil, Argentina, Kenya, India, Peru, Mexico, Zambia to name a few.

This project is called A Liter of Light. It’s simple technology that aims to illuminate households where electricity is not available.
The ingredients for the solar bottle bulb are inexpensive and few and installation is simple and easy.Water in a bottle with chlorine and sunshine gives you the equivalent light of a 55 watt bulb that refracts the sunlight.

To construct the solar light bulb, a 1.5 liter PET bottle is filled with water and bleach and installed on the roof of a house. During the day, the sunlight is refracted, illuminating the interiors with the brightness of a 55 watt bulb.

Not only is it environmentally friendly, but it is also inexpensive and easy to install. This makes it a perfect option for the urban poor who do not have access to electricity. When properly installed, the bulb can last up to five years.

After reading about the initiatives of My Shelter Foundation in using sustainable and eco friendly ways to create better options and lives for the needy, it’s time to rethink what recycled building products can mean to you.

After all, if a lowly plastic bottle can be the building blocks of a school house or be the instrument to illuminate a home during the day, who knows what other innovations may be found in our other every day “trash”?

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