WEEK 2_A Village Constructed from Discarded Plastic Bottles

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In a world that billions of plastic bottles are discarded every year, finding an innovative way to reuse them is a urgent task for the whole human society. There is a village in Panama, using plastic bottles as one of the main materials to build their house. It is an creative way to deal with the useless bottles and contribute to the nature, although some problems might still exist.

In the Plastic Bottles Village program, around 120 homes will nestled into a 83 acres established jungle area which also close to the shoreline. All of these houses will be built with used plastic bottles as the main insulation, and look just the same as normal houses from the outside. The plastic insulation could significantly keep the indoor temperature 17°C  (63°F) cooler than the outside at the burning hot tropics.

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Other than recycling PET bottles and reducing indoor temperature, in my opinion, the most significant meaning for this structure is that the metal cage filled with PET bottles which acts as frame for the house could act as lifeboat when a sudden tsunami or flood comes. During a tsunami, people are swept away and incapable to swim back to shore, they cannot survive unless they find something to float on. If the whole village is built using floatable prefabricated metal cage filled with plastic bottles, I believe that many lives could saved after a Tsunami.

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However, the weakness of this structure is also lethal. I cannot imagine that if a fire accident happens, how many people will die for the poison gas that released by the burning plastic bottles. For the surrounding natural environment, the gas will be a serious long-term disaster as well. Also, although housing is consuming plastic bottles, the total PET bottle amount is increasing, we can only use a limited part, so we still need a thorough solution for the plastic trash we made.

More information for the Plastic Bottle Village or eco-village in Panama.

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