Seeding Education, and Environmental Awareness, in Guatemala with Plastic Bottle Schools

plastic bottle school photo


Here's some news that's impossible not to love: schools made from plastic bottles are being built—by students—across Guatemala. We showcased the first one last year, built in 2009 with 2,053 pounds of trash and now serving 297 children, and it's grown into a whole movement. It's called Hug It Forward, named for how they've been able to build as many schools as they have and how they plan to keep spreading the word in order to build more. (Six schools so far, with three underway—and a goal of 100 by the end of the year.)

Hug It Forward explained: "We spread our message with a hug tracking system on our website, Every hug someone registers raises money for the construction of more bottle schools. Everyone is capable of giving or receiving a hug; therefore getting people involved is easy and feels good."

So instead of, say, 'poking' people on Facebook, you can hug people online—and for every hug given, sponsors donate 25 cents to fund bottle schools.

The benefits of these bottle schools are numerous: they're built in poor communities where schools are either far away or lack resources and sometimes even teachers. They provide a use for nonbiodegradable trash and an incentive for cleaning up littered streets. They teach environmental awareness and help people develop new skills, potentially to help create employment opportunities.

Money is spent only in the local community where the school is being built, according to Hug It Forward, and because kids do the building themselves, they take ownership of and pride in the school.

And ultimately, "Entire communities work together, young and old, to make the dream of education reality." But they need your help—start hugging!

More on green schools and recycled materials
6,000 Plastic Bottles + Some Dedicated Villagers = New Schoolhouse in Guatemala
Recycled Bottle Greenhouse: Build Your Own
Recycled Life - Documentary on Guatemala City Recyclers
Massive Plastic Bottle Building Unveiled in Taiwan

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