Sunday's Tale: a post from the past
On Sustainable diary last Sunday we spoke about an amazing building made with glass bottles, and also today we decide to tell a bottle’s story.
Plastic bottle construction is an idea of Andreas Froese, an architect and environmental entrepreneur. Froese developed Eco-Tec, a method to utilize plastic (PET) bottles as “bricks” in the construction of houses, latrines, and water tanks. It is a good idea to address the problem by putting to use some of the million plastic water bottles discards each day in developing nations.
The first plastic bottle construction project in Africa was pioneered in Uganda by an organization called Butakoola Village Association forDevelopment - BUVAD. BUVAD is located in Kayunga, a district north of Kampala.
They teamed up with Eco-Tec to bring bottle construction technology to Uganda in the form of a latrine block. Students and community members at a local primary school collected and filled bottles found throughout the community and together they built a block of latrines for their school. Constructed in April 2010, BUVAD’s latrine block was the first of its kind on the continent.
Benefits of Bottle Construction
Waste management - A small house can use as many as 10,000 bottles, waste that would otherwise be deposited in a landfill or burned.
Environmental protection - Unlike “traditional” bricks, bottle bricks are not fired, a process which uses much firewood and contributes to deforestation.
Cost effective - Building with bottles is typically less expensive than building with bricks as the main construction material is trash.
Job creation – The construction process of building with bottles is work intensive. This means many can be involved in the process, creating opportunities for employment and community involvement, from collecting to filling to building. While this method would potentially be costly in more industrialized nations, where labor is expensive and materials are cheap, in countries like Uganda, materials are expensive, labor is cheap, and jobs are in demand.
Shock resistant – The plastic coating of “bottle bricks” makes them more flexible than fired bricks. Bottle construction has greater shock resistance and is well suited for earthquake prone areas.
Long lasting – It is estimated that it takes a plastic bottle approximately 300 years to decompose.
Photo credit © Aminu Abubakar