Panama’s Eco-Friendly Plastic Bottle Village

‘The Plastic Bottle Village’ is just the sort of innovative idea that might eventually save the Earth from drowning in plastic. It’s a planned 83-acre community in Panama that, as the name suggests, is going to be entirely built out of discarded plastic bottles.

Located on Isla Colón, in the Bocas del Toros province, The Plastic Bottle Village will include approximately 120 homes of varying sizes. The design process begins with building frames of rebar and steel mesh, which are then filled with used plastic bottles. Once this step is complete, and various electrical and plumbing lines are inserted, the plastic walls are covered by concrete – both inside and out.

So the finished homes look just like conventional ones, and no one will actually be able to tell that the walls are made of plastic. What’s more, the unusual choice of construction material will keep the house a considerable 17°C  cooler than the temperature outside. The homes also come equipped with a septic tank system, standard windows, doors, and an exterior sidewalk.


The Village is the brainchild of Robert Bezeau, who moved to Bocas from Canada many years ago with the intention of setting up several environmental projects. Having started a recycling program in 2012, during which a staggering number of plastic bottles were collected, he started to think of how they could be put to use. Soon enough, he decided to use them to build houses, and came up with a basic idea for the construction process. He is now collaborating with top architecture firms across Panama as a part of the project.


Over 10,000 plastic bottles were used to built the first prototype building, which was completed late last year. The bottles were obtained from the same recycling project that Robert had set up. The next home is expected to be bigger, and will hence need more bottles to build. According to the Plastic Bottle Village website, “The project will be built in three phases, stretching across 83 acres of hilltop partial ocean view lots, and secluded jungle lots. Phase one has begun late 2015, with the construction of the community’s first, simple single story two bd. home. The second model home in the project will commence early 2016.”


The “re-constructed” homes – which will be offered in three standard models as well as custom designed ones – will be sold on request for anywhere between $149,000 and $300,000. The community will also feature other facilities such as an eco-lodge, gardens, mini-parks, and more. “At the Plastic Bottle Village, we inspire to bring together a collective of minds and bodies, to work together to create awareness, and to take part in educating the world, to the positive effects of re-using eco building with recycled materials,” the website states.


The website goes on to explain that a staggering 22,000 plastic bottles are discarded across the world per second. While all these bottles obviously cannot be converted into homes, the project hopes to raise awareness of the colossal waste that these bottles create. “The Plastic Bottle Village’s goal is to create an education center that will teach individuals from different parts of the planet, how to reuse plastic bottles as construction materials for shelter,” the website adds.


You could contribute to the innovative project as well, through their GoFundMe page, where they hope to raise $500,000.

Sources: Tree Hugger, Green Building Elements