A village built from plastic bottles

The amount of discarded plastic in the world is a major problem, especially because a large part ends up in our oceans. Studies show that there are over 150 million tonnes of plastic in the oceans. There are many projects that try to reduce the amount of plastic, by recycling it, for instance by turning it into denim or sneakers, or finding alternatives for the use of plastic. Robert Bezeau has found his own way to contribute to the cleaning of the oceans. He has decided to build village out of plastic bottles in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

Calling our area the plastic age, Bezeau started collecting plastic bottles from locals. After only one and a half years, he had gathered already over a million PET bottles. With these, he has started building houses, putting the bottles in metal cages and stacking them. Compared to other building materials, recycled plastic bottles are very cheap, since they are discarted anyway. The bottles are filled with air, which functions as a great insulator. Especially in places with a warm climate, the bottle-houses do not need air conditioning.

Another benefit of a plastic-bottle-house is that it is earthquake resistant, because it has flexibility. In case of a tsunami, the walls will float, because they are filled with plastic bottle, and can be used as lifeboats.

A house two-story house of about 100 meters (1000 square feet) per floor uses about 14,000 bottles. On average, a human born after 1978 will consume 14 to 15,000 bottles in their lifetime, which boils down to half a bottle per day (assuming one lives to 80). With a plastic bottle house, you neutralise your impact on the environment. When the house is done, you won’t see anything of the bottles anymore, as the house will look like any other.

Bezeau has big plans, as he aims to build an entire village of about 120 homes, as well as a store. Additionally, he wants to start giving training courses on how to build a house out of plastic bottles, so they might start popping up soon near you!