Plastic containers or bottles are often discarded as waste by most of us and usually sold to the recyclers. Though recycling is a good thing, plastic PET bottles can actually be used as recreational engineering materials to build several green structures that have far better strength than regular building materials and can serve a number […]
Plastic containers or bottles are often discarded as waste by most of us and usually sold to the recyclers. Though recycling is a good thing, plastic PET bottles can actually be used as recreational engineering materials to build several green structures that have far better strength than regular building materials and can serve a number of functions as well. Also waste plastic bottles can be used to make artistic creations that are both green and visually pleasant as well. This article describes briefly the various ideas for turning hazardous waste plastic to green engineering materials and how you can put them to use.
Plastic bottles as green construction materials
Plastic bottles often come in cylindrical shapes, making them suitable for a number of constructional purposes. For instance, plastic bottles can be used as reinforcement for building walls and other small scale buildings such as tool sheds, greenhouses, and outdoor areas and so on. Plastic bottles can also be used as basic building blocks for constructing houses, but since this involves quite a bit of engineering knowledge, let’s stick to simple structures that can be built in a day or two and will not bother anyone even if they are structurally weak. Now, the simplest thing you can build with the waste plastic bottles bought locally from the nearby recyclers is a green house.
Building your very own greenhouse from recycled plastic
A greenhouse is nothing but a transparent structure that absorbs insolation and stores it, keeping a warm temperature throughout the day. The structure is best suited for growing rare flowering plants that require plenty of light and warm temperature to thrive. To build a small scale greenhouse, all you need is clay, a constant supply of water, about 300 waste plastic bottles and basic construction equipment such as levels, trowels and so on. Start by placing a single layer of clay that outlines the shape of the structure that you intend to build. Now, before the wet clay sets, place the plastic waste bottles spaced equidistantly on top of the clay such that 40% of the bottle is sunk inside the clay. Now form another layer of clay on top of the first layer, the height of this layer should be approximately more than the diameter of the bottle. And again in a similar way, place plastic bottles in a similar way like the previous layer and again cover the bottles with another layer of clay. Repeat the process till the required height is reached, and ensure that the last layer is one of clay. Level the top layer, and the allow the clay to dry and set, now fix glass roofs on top and your very own recycled green house is ready.
Advantages of having a greenhouse built from plastic bottles
Now the obvious advantage of setting up such a greenhouse is the cost savings that one can get from it. Actually the entire greenhouse can be built for the cost of glass required for one side of a real glass greenhouse. But there are also plenty of other environment friendly and aesthetic advantages for building such a greenhouse as well. For instance, since the entire structure is made out of transparent plastic bottles, they will absorb in ample light and can do a better job at capturing infrared radiation than glass. But the clay matrix in which the bottles are place will ensure that the optimum temperature is maintained even in the hottest of days, so that the plants will not suffer from excessive heat damage. Also if you use various colored bottles for building the structure, the light inside the greenhouse will be so vibrant that will make anyone’s heart melt.
Plastic bottles as green garden pots
Construction is not the only area where waste plastic bottle can be utilized; they can also be used for gardening and other recreational purposes. For instance if the walls are looking plain and little too bland for your taste, you can turn them green in no time using the waste plastic bottles. Now the first thing you have to do is, cut, two small holes on the ends of the bottle so that a steel wire can be attached for hoisting them up. Now, cut the bottle such that the top part is removed without affecting the structural integrity of the bottle. Now fill one layer of the bottle with egg shells, onion peels, vegetable wastes and so on and cover them with fresh soil. Now hang the bottles up on the walls using the steel wires connected to the ends, and grow on these flexible plastic pots your favorite flowering plants. Keep replenishing the soil with organic fertilizer and your hanging wall garden will look as green as ever.
So as one can see, the ways in which one can convert plastic bottles to creative green structures is truly infinite, limited only by the creativity of the person’s mind. So the next time you purchase a plastic bottle, think of all the green ways in which you can reuse it and start experimenting.