Innovation That Matters

Schools constructed from discarded plastic bottles

Nonprofit & Social Cause

If discarded plastic bottles can be turned into countertops, bedding, graduation gowns, and athletic apparel, then why not a school? We’ve come across numerous instances of schools made from plastic bottles lately, including one in the Philippines and several in Guatemala. Reportedly the first of its kind in Asia, the school in San Pablo, Philippines, is made out of 1.5 and 2-litre bottles filled with adobe. Conceived and constructed by social entrepreneur Illac Diaz and nonprofit MyShelter Foundation, the new school was donated by the local government of San Pablo and built with the help of volunteers, according to a report on Inhabitat. Not only were the bottles donated and free, but the adobe filling used is cheaper than concrete and about three times stronger than cement, according to reports. Then, too, there are the bottle school projects in Guatemala, six of which are already up and running, with four more in progress. The first was built in Granados in 2009 using a construction method pioneered by Pura Vida — filling plastic bottles with inorganic trash, before stacking them between chicken wire and covering them in cement. In the Granados project over 5,000 plastic bottles were used to construct two classrooms, containing 2053lbs of trash and using 9720lbs of cement. 297 children and youth currently attend the school, which, like the others, was built for around USD 10,000. Similar in many ways to the Save the Beach Hotel, bottle schools are not just a clever way to turn waste into something useful, they’re also a reminder of all the waste that’s being generated in the first place. One to be inspired by! (Related: Five businesses that turn trash into appealing new productsGenerator turns plastic bottles back into oil.) Websites: and Spotted by: Denise Kuperman



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