Bottles not bricks
- 04 Jun 2012
A Guatemalan school that was built using innovative methods of construction could be a solution to the plastic trash problem in developing countries.
The first time we featured houses being built using plastic bottles we were in awe of the innovative solution the people of an Nigerian town used as construction material.
Now, Hug It Forward, a nonprofit in Guatemala, is using the same solution to build schools on a shoestring budget by turning the plastic bottles that litter the countryside's villages into raw construction materials.
It might seem that plastic bottles aren’t a very good construction material but the Guatemalan non-profit Pura Vida has developed the technology and it has allowed schools to be built for less than $10,000.
The plastic bottles are stuffed with trash, tucked between supportive chicken wire, and coated in layers of concrete to form walls between the framing. The bottles make up the insulation, while more structurally sound materials like wood posts are used for the framing.
One added bonus of the nonprofit's work is educating local children about the environment by helping them gather the bottles that end up in their schools' walls. "They create the school that in turn creates opportunities for them," Hug It Forward staff write on the group's website.
A two-classroom schoolhouse built by Hug it Forward in Granados used up 5,000 bottles, which otherwise would've kicked around the town's street or ended up in a trash heap. Hug it Forward has already built 12 schools around the country, with four more in the works.