Thursday, April 7, 2011

Plastic Bottle Madness

Today was a good day.

Here I am, out in a rural village in my municipality, communing with a bunch of students who have been collecting plastic soda bottles that we’ll use in my bottle school project (background blog post here). The look on my face says it all – we made a big haul, the kids were adorable, and now we’re a heck of a lot closer to the 8000 bottles we’ll need for our project. Woo hoo!

It all started six weeks ago, when my counterpart and I convened a bunch of school principals together at the district office and asked them to convince their students to gather plastic soda bottles and fill them with inorganic trash. The big idea, we explained, was that these stuffed bottles would serve as eco-ladrillos or eco bricks, which we could use instead of concrete blocks in the construction of a two-room schoolhouse for a needy community. Further advantages included:

- Cheaper construction costs
- anti-seismic design (walls of mostly trash rather than concrete are a plus)
- inorganic/organic trash awareness for students
- neighborhood garbage cleanup
- citizen participation and community involvement
- there’s an NGO helping out (external $$$$ for infrastructure creation)

Yeah, building a school out of bottles seems like a crazy idea, but…… there are a few advantages :)

Anyway, so we convinced the principals to help out, throwing in the further enticement that we’d be awarding prizes to the student, class and school that brought in the most filled bottles within six weeks. Man, did they get excited!

This is just one of the five communities we visited, and there are probably 500+ filled bottles in that pile! I was pretty excited, because we pulled in around 1000 filled bottles just in one morning’s haul, with 1000 more only half filled or empty (still useful). However, the real shocker is that there are around FIFTEEN more communities that we have to visit over the next few days, so there’s no telling how many bottles we’re going to end up with….

Here we are, preparing the costales (plastic sacks) of bottles that we’ll haul away. That’s my counterpart on the right, the mayor’s brother in the middle, and a resident of the community where the school will be built on the left.

Things are coming together! With hope, we’ll begin construction within the next 4-5 weeks….


  1. So nifty!! Well done Hargy. I love it when you post your blogs to Facebook because then I remember to visit here. :)

  2. wonderful! i can't wait to see pictures of construction once it gets underway!