26. April 2019
A village in between courage and sadness. Located in the island of bocas del toro, panama, the plastic bottle village by Robert Bezeau is an initiative that seeks to reduce plastic waste and reuse it by incorporating it in the construction of homes.
How did the idea start? What was your main inspiration? I moved to this island ( Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro, Panama ) in 2009 and I started to get curious about the fact that so much garbage on such a small island. I decided to make a study in 2012 and hired 15 local workers and opened 60,000 garbage bags during 6 months to segregate all the garbage by categories. One interesting point is that the PET bottles mountain went up very fast to compare to other packaging. After a few months I knew that the bottle was the problem #1 100,000 visitors a year that stay for an average of 5 days = 500,000 visitors day, and buy 2 drinks per day = to 1 Million PET bottle/year. Lots of bottles for a small island. I decided to start picking-up all the PET bottles from the hotels and restaurants, and within 16 months, I had my first Million bottles. I did not know what to do with them, until on Aug.5th 2015 I woke-up from a dream where I was in a village completely built with PET bottles. I than decided to build my first building.
What is the hardest part of continuing this project? The most difficult is to build all the infrastructures to be able to build many homes. I have a land of 33 Hectares so many homes can be built in my village, but the restriction is the finance. Actually I started in 2015 to build a 90 sq.mt house reusing 10,000 PET bottles Than in early 2016 I started to built a two levels cottage reusing 22,000 PET bottles. In Aug.2016 I started the construction of Castle Inspiration with 4 levels and reusing 40,000 bottles. The construction lasted 2.5 years and finish Dec.2018 In January 2019 I started building a PET bottle jail hotel with pool and bar and will be finish by July 2019. This is not a real jail even if the guesses can come for a few days vacation to repent for what they have done to our planet in the last 40 years. It’s done with humor but have a serious part. Guesses receive a prisoner sweater on arrival and are shown to their jail room where they have the key of the door and pretend being a prisoner. In the jail the walls are filled with signs that shows pictures of crimes against the planet, and also in the rooms hoping that parents will bring the kids with them and make the kids realize what their parent did to their planet by ignorance. The last night of the vacation the guesses are moved from a jail room to a Royal suite in the bottle castle and are treated like King’s Queen’s, Prince and princess to celebrate the end of their jail time to repent for their crime. Before they leave they are remitted a Repentance certificate that certifies that they surrender and have repented and are released under promise from now on to protect and held our planet. ( see certificate attach)
Do many people wish to live in the village? Now that a good part of the infrastructures are ready, like roads and services, I have 10 families that bought a lot and will start building their PET bottle home. I offer lots with only $1,000 cash and I finance the balance on 7-10 years. I want to make the access easy financially so that the peoples can learn to build reusing PET bottles and experience the feeling of helping our planet.
How many people work in your team? Actually only 4 but I will get more help as soon as the peoples will buy more lots.
What are your goals for the next few years? A complete village filled with homes up-cycled with PETS, to clean our island, and help our planet.
Finally, is there anything else you would like us to add to the article? 40 years ago, humanity took the wrong exit with the invasion of the single use plastic for packaging. Today it’s time to learn how to reuse this plastic before it kills all the sea life. PET was invented by Dupont in 1973 and the reason was to replace the glass bottles for the soda. Therefor a very strong and resisting bottle was needed to withstand the pressure of the gas in the soda. Coca-Cola and Pepsi started to use the PET bottles in 1978. The mistake we human did was to allow the Coca-Cola and Pepsi to go from a glass bottle with a return deposit, to a PET bottle without deposit. We did not have smart phones in our pocket at that time to know what was going to happen. We should have told Coca-Cola and Pepsi, You want to go from glass to plastic? No problem, but you keep the deposit and we bring the PET bottles back to the store and YOU recycle your own bottles because us humans will not do a good job, and that is exactly what happened… PET material is an incredible discovery because it’s very strong and can last more than 800 years. Do you know of any construction materials that can last so long? The problem is the shape of the bottles. Remember when you were a kid and playing with LEGO blocks. You at this young age had a constructive mind, not a destructive mind. Imagine if the PET bottle were shaped to interlock one to another like LEGO. We could be creative again and build all kind of designs. When there is a disaster like earthquakes somewhere, Red Cross and United Nation sends millions of water bottles and these peoples have lost everything, imagine if the bottle would be designed to interlock and peoples could build shelters, beds, table and chairs immediately as they drink the water. Wouldn’t that be fantastic…All we need to do is to convince the bottlers to change the shape of the bottles.
Thank you Robert
Images: Courtesy of Robert Bezeau
STONE AGE, ICE AGE, and now PLASTIC AGE
Dinosaurs were extinguished by a meteor
Humanity will be extinguish by plastic
Protect the future generations,say no to plastic.
“CHANGE THE WORLD, WITHOUT CHANGING THE EARTH”