We've talked here before about the scourge of single-use plastic, so you can imagine how it warmed my heart to run across this video, where kids are taking plastic bottles and upcycling them into building materials:
1800 children in Guatemala collected 2.5 tons of trash and over 10,000 plastic bottles and used them to help build a school for themselves.
Laura Kutner was working with the Peace Corps in Grenados when the school principal there asked if she could help them finish building two classrooms. The rooms were framed out but had no walls. When she realized that her 600 mL bottle of Coke was the same width as the frame, inspiration struck.
With help from the kids and other members of the community, Kutner organized a building campaign. They stuffed the bottles full of inorganic trash and built themselves a school! Kutner described the process to the folks at Living on Earth:
We built four walls. It’s a very simple process. Essentially, you have your frame, and you start on one side of the frame, you have to lay out either…you know, you staple chicken wire to one side or what we did, because we used metal, was we tied with metal wire the chicken wire to one side first, and made it really, really tight.
And then you start on the inside and you are stacking the bottles against the first layer of chicken wire vertically and then horizontally, and then you’re slowly closing it over with another layer of chicken wire and then tying both layers of chicken wire together.
So you kind of encage the bottles. And then you put three layers of cement on both sides. After that, you can’t even tell that it was built out of bottles. It looks like it was built out of cement block.
The coolest part, after all of the waste they diverted from landfills, is that this structure is actually more earthquake-proof than cement, because the bottle walls have a bit of flexibility to them.
h/t: Miss Malaprop