Plastic bottle village in Panama: A path to eco-friendly development

[] Constructed by Canadian Robert Bezeau, Isla Colón in the Bocas del Toro archipelago, is the first village in the world with houses made of plastic bottles

An eco-village located at Isla Colón in Panama is already undertaking something extraordinary, with nothing but waste plastic bottles – they are building their own homes with it.

You are reading: Plastic bottle village in Panama: A path to eco-friendly development

Once finished, this community in the eco-village will have around 120 homes, which will all be insulated, courtesy plastic bottles. This initiative, while fantastically reuses plastic waste, also helps in insulation for these homes, enabling them to stay cool (approximately 17 degrees Celsius cooler than the external temperature) without any hassle. After integrating all utilities, the water bottle frame is encased in concrete, making it resemble a regular home, as well.

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Plastic homes at Panama’s eco-village: Interesting facts

Plastic bottle village Panama

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The tiny island, off Panama, is now teaching the world about stylish and yet, environment-friendly living and waste disposal. Isla Colón, in the Bocas del Toro archipelago, has the first ‘plastic bottle village; in the world. The project was undertaken by Canadian Robert Bezeau after shifting to the Bocas Islands many years back. Here are some more interesting facts:

  • Bezeau started building this village after seeing disturbing volumes of plastic waste covering the beaches on the island.
  • After trying to clean it for a year-and-a-half, he vowed to discover a solution for using the same and realised that it could be used as building material for developing new-generation homes.
  • After working with volunteers throughout this period, he managed to collect in excess of one million bottles, for recycling.
  • His effort has been featured in a documentary by Mel Films and filmmaker David Freid.
  • The bottles are neatly stuffed within cages made from wire mesh and then put into another cage made of steel rebar.
  • The bottle-filled boxes then become insulation devices for every home and are neatly covered with concrete.
  • A large home may have up to 20,000 bottles – more than what any millennial individual may end up using in approximately eight decades, as per reports.
  • Bezeau has indicated that simply buying such a home will negate the plastic usage effects for one’s lifetime.

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Eco-friendly aspects of Panama’s plastic bottle homes

Panama plastic home village

The bottles work neatly with regard to insulation and Bezeau has claimed that the home may be cooler by almost 35 degrees inside, in comparison to the hot Panamanian jungle. People living in these homes will not require air-conditioning according to him, while the bottle and frame-based construction is also comparatively safer during earthquakes and floods. In theory, at least, a broken portion of the home could transform into a device for floatation. Bezeau is hoping to build at least 120 homes, while establishing a new exchange program that will offer food to families, in return for collection of bottles.

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He is also hoping to set up a training program, to teach other people how to develop similar homes. Talking about how the world has changed, he points out that ‘there are 7.3 billion people on the planet and if each one of us drinks only one bottle a day, we are looking at 2.6 trillion bottles a year’. Bezeau has stated that including the cost of transportation, these houses will cost lower than developing completely cemented houses. He has also indicated that he plans to include small parks for holding gatherings, along with a yoga pavilion and boutique, in the community, which will also have an eco-lodge for accommodating a fruit, vegetable and herb garden.

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Bezeau has also stated that plastic bottles may be reused, for not just home insulation but also for temporary disaster shelters, swimming pools, buildings for animals on farms, water catchment tanks, barns, land drainage systems, septic tanks, roads and more. The location of the village also lends itself towards harnessing solar energy, for usage in the future. The village is situated adjacent to multiple streams of water, enabling a supply of freshwater for the village too.

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Where is the world’s first plastic village located?

The first ever plastic village in the world is in Panama at Isla Colón, in the archipelago of Bocas del Toro.

Who is the creator of this plastic eco-village in Panama?

Canadian Robert Bezeau is the creator of this Panama eco-village.

How many bottles were collected by him after an extensive clean-up of the island?

After cleaning up the island extensively with a team of volunteers, Bezeau managed to collect more than 1 million bottles for recycling.

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Category: Rent

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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