Repurposing plastic soda bottles and styrofoam

By Mykel Murphy

Although school is out now and most of our kids have gone back to their villages, there are a few who stay at Warm Heart permanently – A, B, C, Jaa, Lalita, and Mew to name a few.

So what is there to do during school holidays?

Housing construction, of course!

Yes, you read that correctly – building a new office for Dr. Michael Shafer has been the main project for both volunteers and children. We wanted to find an efficient way to build using recycled materials like plastic bottles and styrofoam. Luca and I ran the initial experiment by collecting hundreds of empty bottles and filling them with sand. Then, we were able to form a wall by holding the bottles together with a mixture made from cement and crushed up styrofoam.

The method worked well enough and we began construction on a larger scale. But there was one problem – it took way too long to pack hundreds of bottles with sand between just the two of us! Luckily, the kids were more than eager to help us out. Construction for them, it turns out, was a direly needed break from the daily monotony that is summer break!

After Luca trained them on how to mix and lay cement, they had it all figured out. Our daily progress more than tripled – a project that should have taken several months to complete will probably be finished before school starts again!

A special thank you to all the hard-working Warm Heart kids!