At Gallery Drinkware, we are constantly thinking about how single-use plastic invades and pollutes our oceans. Although we often feel fearful about how overwhelming this environmental disaster has become, we also stumble upon stories that give us hope that this enormous problem can turn around.
In Kenya, Africa, an Indian Ocean coastal village has taken on their plastic waste issue in an incredibly unique way-- by using throw-away plastic water bottles and bags to construct houses, furniture, and even a ship!
One village resident built his three-bedroom house partially from both plastic and glass bottles that would otherwise end up as waste. The result is a home that he says is "mesmerizing. It's just like living in any other house, but this one, unlike other ordinary houses, allows more light to enter the house and therefore I don't use my solar panels for lighting when there is a full moon."
Utilizing these materials that would otherwise be waste not only chips away at the desperately-needed environmental clean-up, but also helps residents save money. Using recyclables cuts down the need for other building materials, such as concrete blocks or sand.
It's inspiring to learn of the changes countries like Kenya are making in the name of environmental protection. Like our home city of Long Beach, California, Kenya has banned both sale and use of disposable plastic bags. Additionally, the country is about to implement a plastic bottle buy-back system (which is a walk back from the full-on plastic bottle ban that they had originally hoped for).
The single-use plastic bottles, which are collected from the local coastal shores, will be sold to merchants and artisans who will then grind them down into fine particles to use for furniture construction. The bottles that aren't ground down can be bound together after washing to turn them into home-building materials.
The bottles that aren't sold will be donated to a unique mission-- the construction of a ship with the goal of sailing to South Africa to promote plastic pollution awareness.
It's stories like this that give us at Gallery Drinkware hope and motivation to keep pursuing our mission of creating an alternative for plastic water bottle use in the home. It's bewildering to us that folks continue to choose to stock their refrigerators with single-use plastic bottles when there are so many more beautiful and eco-friendly alternatives, like our glass bottles and drinkware.
We all need to work together to keep plastic out of our oceans and one of the most do-able and crucial steps is choosing to stop using single-use plastic bottles whenever it's possible! There's never a need for it in the home when you have access to a tap or a water filter.
Bravo to Kenya, a country taking action in a unique, ingenious way. We must all work together to protect our common home!