plastic-bottles

Did you know that you can make houses out of plastic bottles? By filling them with sand, and molding them together with mud or cement, the walls created are actually bullet proof, fire proof, and will maintain an comfortable indoor temperature of 64 degrees in the summer time.

And it’s not like there is any shortage on used plastic bottles out there. Here are some statistics from treehugger.com:

“The United States uses 129.6 Million plastic bottles per day which is 47.3 Billion plastic bottles per year. About 80% of those plastic bottles end up in a landfill!”

To build a two bedroom, 1200 square foot home, it takes about 14,000 bottles.

The United States throws away enough plastic bottles to build 9257 of these 2 bedroom houses per day! That’s just over 3.35 million homes, the same number of homeless people in America.

(via America Could End Homelessness in One Year by Doing This - The Mind Unleashed)

The Life Cycle of a Plastic Bottle

We’ve all been told that we should recycle plastic bottles and containers. But what actually happens to the plastic if we just throw it away? Here are the life cycles of three different plastic bottles.

Bottle One, like hundreds of millions of tons of its plastic brethren, ends up in a landfill. This huge dump expands each day, as more trash moves in and continues to take up space. 

As plastics sit there being compressed, rainwater flows through the waste and absorbs the water soluble compounds it contains, and some of those are highly toxic. Together they create a harmful stew called “leachate”, which can move into groundwater, soil, and streams, poisoning ecosystems and harming wildlife. It can take Bottle One an agonizing 1,000 years to decompose.

Bottle Two floats on a trickle that reaches a stream, a stream that flows into a river, and a river that reaches the ocean. After months lost at sea, it’s slowly drawn into a massive vortex, where trash accumulates - place known as “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.” This is one of five plastic filled gyres in the worlds seas. 

Some animals mistake the brightly colored plastic bits for food. Plastic makes them feel full when they’re not, so they starve to death, passing the toxins from the plastic up the food chain, eventually to us.

Bottle Three, on the other hand, is recycled. It’s taken away on a truck to a plant, where it and its companions are squeezed flat and compressed into a block. The blocks are shredded into tiny pieces, which are washed and melted, so they become the raw materials that can be used again. Bottle Three is ready to be reborn, as something new.

So, what can you do? First - reduce your use of plastic altogether! And when you do find yourself needing to buy a bottle, don’t forget to recycle it. You’ll be doing Planet Earth a great, big favor.

From the TED-Ed Lesson What really happens to the plastic you throw away - Emma Bryce

Animation by Sharon Colman Graham

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PLASTIC BOTTLE GREENHOUSES

Plastic bottles have the joint honour of being both an environmental disaster, and a very useful material for DIY freecycling projects in the garden: whether they be used for sub-irrigated planters, vertical gardens, simple cloches, underground water reservoirs, makeshift hydroponics components, or in these cases, an entire greenhouse.

Photos: Sustainable Community Initiatives Scotland, Columbia Centre for Science and Environmental Awareness, SKPPRA UK, Essex Community Rehabilitation Centre

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Veronika Richterova

PET-ART sculptures

When I found out by chance, that plastic bottles could be deformed by heat I decided to create a sculpture from this material. Immediately, I had the idea that it could be called PET-art however, I took it only as one of my visual experimentations. I didn’t anticipate that plastic bottles would become such an obsession for me for many years. Since 2004 I have used thousands of bottles and have created hundreds of objects. In doing this work, I have developed many specific methods of technological processing.

Posted by Andrew

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This weird blob might be how we drink water in the future

Behold this weird blob from three London-based industrial design students. Called Ooho, this blob is actually a “strong, hygienic, biodegradable, and edible” replacement for traditional water bottles.

Created by “spherification,” a technique of shaping liquids into spheres developed in 1946 and more recently repopularized by world-renowned Spanish chef Ferran Adriá of the famed elBulli restaurant, Ooho consists of a compound of brown algae and calcium chloride that forms a gel around a watery core.

Creators Rodrigo García González, Pierre Paslier and Guillaume Couche say that the Ooho could eventually replace traditional, plastic water bottles entirely (which go unrecycled 80% of the time) for just 2 cents a pop — especially after seeing how other products like WikiPearl have gone into commercial production.

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Studio KCA won an AIA New York Chapter competition to build their “Head in the Clouds” installation on New York’s Governors Island. The work features 53,780 used plastic bottles and jugs, approximately the number of empties the city discards in a single hour. Photography by Chuck Choi.

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Czech artist Veronika Richterová creates new life from repurposed plastic PET bottles. For the last decade the artist has used various methods of cutting, heating, and assemblage to build colorfully translucent forms of everything from crocodiles to chandelier light fixtures to plants.

Her obsession with plastic bottles doesn’t stop with creating artwork, Richterová has also collected over 3,000 PET plastic objects from 76 countries and writes extensively about the history and usage of plastic in her article A Tribute to PET Bottles. You can see hundreds more sculptures in her online gallery

(via Recycled PET Plastic Bottle Plant Sculptures by Veronika Richterová | Colossal)

— d.n.