"Leave only footprints."
Those three words stand at the helm of an innovative recycling initiative that could very well change the developing world. When Robert Bezeau relocated from Canada to Panama, he realized that low-income areas don't just lack the resources that come to mind when we think of day-to-day struggles.
They lack access to the resources necessary in the recycling process. The accumulation of plastic waste is one of the world's most pressing environmental issues, and less privileged nations across the globe have trouble dealing with all of that refuse.
That's where the Plastic Bottle Village comes in. Located in Bocas del Toro, Panama, every building in this town is made out of — you guessed it — plastic bottles.
Spanning across 83 acres on beautiful Isla Colón, the growing village sits on prime real estate.
Every two-story home is constructed with 14,000 bottles, and by the time they're done with the project, builders hope to complete about 120 houses in total.
Along with homes, they plan on building a community center, a yoga pavilion, and a fruit and vegetable garden on the property. The best part is that each structure is designed with sustainability in mind.
By using plastic bottles as insulation, they do their part to save the environment in more ways than one.
Aside from figuring out how to repurpose materials, they also had to consider how energy usage would affect their design.
When they tested the insulation power of plastic, they realized that the homes stayed cool without the use of air conditioning! Recycling plastic and saving energy? It really doesn't get better than that.
The team's goals are simple. In Bezeau's words, "We aim to reconstruct these materials into modern, stylish, and quality-built residences. We want to live inside what we have consumed and thrown away."
In order to continue doing this world-saving work, they need our help. If you'd like to donate, you can do so here!
"This is just the tip of the iceberg," Bezeau explained to ViralNova. "I have so many plans for our Plastic Bottle Village project, and one day, I hope to use this design for everything from commercial warehouses to disaster relief shelters."