In first-world countries where resources seem abundant, and things like garbage disposal and recycling are taken care of for us, it is sometimes easy to lose sight of the impact that each of our actions has on the earth. More so than ever before, we are living in a "plastic world," where most products are being manufactured or packaged in plastic for convenience and cost-efficiency. Only relatively recently have we begun to acknowledge and take action against the devastating impact this has had on our planet and its various inhabitants.
While there are countless organizations and initiatives that are dedicated to tackling this ever-growing problem, there is still plenty of work to do. Sadly, not every part of the world has the proper resources or finances to participate in the process. Those of us who are fortunate enough to live in developed countries, however, have no excuse. Robert Bezeau, a Canadian who now lives in Panama, is revolutionizing the way that plastic bottles get reused - starting with a local town there. It is only the first step in helping less developed countries begin a recycling initiative; in time, Bezeau hopes that his project will expand to doing good on a much larger scale.
Robert Bezeau started his recycling program when he moved to Bocas del Toro, Panama in 2012. The initiative, called Plastic Bottle Village, has helped to reduce the volume of garbage that goes into the town's only landfill.
Rather than burning or burying the plethora of plastic bottles that end up in their garbage, the bottles are being reused to build homes and buildings.
The breathtaking Isla Colón sits on 83 acres of land. Thanks to Bezeau and his team of volunteers and workers, each two-story home on the island is being built using 14,000 plastic bottles for insulation.
With this initiative, the team is hoping to construct 120 houses in total - that's 1,680,000 bottles recycled!
And they're not just stopping at houses. Their plan also includes the development of a community center, a yoga pavilion, and a garden for fruits and vegetables.
Needless to say, all of these structures will be sustainable and economically friendly.
The program not only helps to save plastic bottles from harming the environment, but it has also reduced energy consumption within each building structure as well. Using plastic bottles as insulation has proven to effectively cool the inside of houses even without the use of air conditioning units - and by quite a bit!
"This is just the tip of the iceberg," Bezeau told ViralNova. "I have so many plans for our Plastic Bottle Village project, and one day, I hope to use this design for everything from commercial warehouses to disaster relief shelters."
He also wants the world to know that plastic bottles can be reused in many, many ways. Aside from home insulation, they can also be used to build temporary shelters during disasters and emergencies, barns, roads, and so much more. "In fact, we can reuse the plastic bottles in so many applications that they could become an endangered species," he wrote on his website.
"Humans have now reached an increasing volume of 7.3 billion people on the planet," Bezeau also stated. "If each one of us drinks only one bottle a day, we are looking at 2.6 trillion bottles a year. Where are they? Where do they go?"
The Plastic Bottle Village initiative is helping us take another leap toward a more sustainable future. "We will be living inside what we have consumed and thrown away, and will re-construct those materials into modern, stylish, and quality-built residences."