Schools in Guatemala Built from Plastic Bottles Shine with Opportunity
Travel to Guatemala is breaking for the country’s rich culture, welcoming people, and breathtaking scenery. Too many Guatemalan children, however, lack access to an education. The cost of education is one huge problem. To that end, Hug It Forward has funded the completion of 12 schools with four more on the drawing board. All of them are built from plastic bottles at a cost of less than US$10,000. The process, developed by the non-profit Pura Vida, solves several problems. The plastic bottles are stuffed with garbage, nudged between layers of chicken wire, and wedged between layers of concrete to form the schools’ walls. This brilliant blend of humanitarian design, waste diversion, and social mission is helping this gem of a country rebuild. For communities struggling with garbage collection and strapped funds, this is one solution that should not be overlooked. The program also works because students are involved in their schools’ construction--often by collecting the bottles that form the classrooms in which they learn. Architecture can be for the masses--and we need more solutions like this one. Photo from Hug It Forward (click to expand).