It’s not always easy to find new ideas for recycling plastic bottles, but here is a surprising one: build houses! The first village of its kind, called “Plastic Bottle Village,” is taking shape on a Panamanian island.
Across the Caribbean Sea, on the island of Colon in the province of Bocas del Toro, the world’s first village created from plastic bottles is born. The village is the fruit of the imagination of Canadian Robert Bezeau. This recycling enthusiast collects bottles that accumulate in local refuse depots to clean waste from the island. His dream, he explains, is “to change the world, without changing the earth, one house at a time.”
Better insulation for houses built in record time
Plastic bottles are used as an insulating material that has proved particularly effective in this tropical climate. The interior temperature of the houses is much cooler than outside, where temperatures hover between 21 and 35°C.
120 houses are planned for construction. They look similar to traditional houses of the island: frames are made from iron and steel bars, which are then filled with bottles. The structure is then covered with concrete… you’d never know the bottles are there! The houses are sold equipped with a septic tank, plumbing system, pipes and gutters. An additional advantage: they are earthquake-resistant, which is quite practical in this little piece of heaven where nature is not always gentle.
The first house of 100m2, finished in autumn 2015, used more than 10,000 plastic bottles. What’s more, the houses are much faster to build than conventional ones, thereby saving even more on construction costs.
Training others to build on success
The eco-village is not an end in itself: Robert Bezeau’s objective is to find solutions to the “global problem posed by plastic.” He hopes to develop a research and education center to train others in this construction technique. To his end, he created a donation campaign on his website, to raise the necessary resources to pursue this worthy adventure.
Journalist: Alexandra Drieghe