In 2009, Robert Bezeau shifted to Panama from Montreal and the first thing that caught his eye was the trash, especially the plastic bottles, littering the beach. Bezeau worked alongside the local volunteers and collected more than one million plastic bottles for recycling in 18 months.
As the plastic bottles piled up, he tried to come up with other solutions for utilizing them instead of the conventional recycling. Bezeau devised a plan to use the plastic bottles as building material and set up what he calls the ‘Plastic Bottle Village.’
The film producer David Freid recently visited Panama and filmed a house under construction:
The model of a home made out of plastic bottles designed by Bezeau uses simple cages made of wire mesh into which the bottles are stuffed. The bottle filled boxes are then layered over with concrete and serve as an insulation for the house. Bezeau admits his idea is out of the box and a bit hard to accept, but he is confident about the plan:
“It’s a crazy idea! I admit it’s a crazy idea. But what is crazy? What is right, what is wrong? It depends how you see things. I see things different.”
A large house comprises of around 20,000 plastic bottles, more than the number of bottled used by a millennial in eighty years. Although the solution does not tackle the environmental problems associated with manufacturing of the plastic bottles, it is cheap. The process also does not require electricity to erect a house while recycling of the trash consumes electric power.
The plastic bottles act as a wonderful insulator and can bring down the inner temperature as low as 35 degrees as compared to the humid and hot Panamanian climate outside the house. The bottle and frame model will be safer during earthquakes and will, in theory, act as a flotation platform in case of a flood.