Recycling revisited and repurposed for reuse
One drinks a lot of water in the tropics. Unfortunately, most tap water is not potable. We buy large water cooler bottles for the house, but when traveling or at restaurants, it's always those plastic bottles that environmentalists sneer at.
Millions of them.
They sell water in those bottles at every corner. And we buy mineral water in large plastic bottles to keep in the refrigerator.
So when I saw a typical, Ecuadorean house on the side of the road built—not from cane—but from recycled water bottles, I had to stop and take a look. It turns out a group of architectural students came one day and erected this house as a demonstration, and it's been standing on the spot for about two years.
As far as I know, none of the local folks have abandoned the traditional cane for recycled plastic, but they like the fact that folks like me stop, ask about it and snap a few pictures.
— Fernando Pagés Ruiz is ProTradeCraft's Latin America Editor. He is currently building a business in Ecuador and a house in Mexico. Formerly, he was a builder in the Great Plains and mountain states. He is the author of Building an Affordable House and Affordable Remodel (Taunton Press).