PETBlock Project Description
Today’s traumatically displaced people often find themselves interminably sheltered under flimsy tents or tarps. This project was initially conceived as an inexpensive, durable and humane alternative to the ubiquitous plastic sheeting distributed by humanitarian aid organizations. Earthen homes are as old as human settlement and countless people across the planet continue to build with these traditional construction practices today. This proposal capitalizes on these global cultural traditions while at the same time creating entrepreneurial opportunities and mitigating some of the environmental damage caused by incalculable plastic waste.
PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is the type of plastic used for common disposable beverage containers. From 2001 until 2007 the number of plastic bottles produced increased 60% and this trend is likely to continue. PET is found in every corner of the world including developing communities and disaster areas.
Our proposal is to use shredded PET as a tensile reinforcing matrix within traditional, air-dried adobe blocks.
PET becomes commodified; scavengers have an incentive to remove plastic from the waste stream. Once collected, entrepreneurs can add value by shredding the plastic bottles in bulk. Brought to the site, the shredded PET can be mixed with appropriate local soils and formed into blocks. Cured for about a month, these blocks are then ready for use in shelter construction.