With the increase in the number and severity of hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters, one thing that is always an issue for victims is food and water. To address the need for water for those displaced by disasters, companies usually send in truckloads of bottled water. But what happens to all those plastic bottles once empty?
Plastic Harming Our Oceans
That is a problem that America has been dealing with for years now. Some of those bottles wind up in the ocean. There is now an “island” made of plastic waste twice the size of Texas. It is called “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This plastic is not biodegradable and it’s causing problems for fish and wildlife, as well as coral reefs.
To remedy this situation, inventors have come up with some pretty wild ideas about how to deal with all this plastic. Some inventors are working on a plastic-type material that is biodegradable and will not harm the environment. The problem with this idea is that it’s expensive. The average case of bottled water (24-pack) only costs around $10 but these new bottles could triple the price.
Biodegradable plastic is made of natural plants such as corn oil, orange peel, and plants. At some point, the cost will most likely go down, but at the moment, it’s just too expensive to use for cases of bottled water.
Plastic Building Blocks
A new concept developed by researchers uses empty water bottles in construction. One of the first projects that researcher built was an emergency shelter. This solves two problems since displaced storm victims often need a place to stay for several weeks.
A collaborative team of students and faculty from the Schools of Engineering and Architecture are working with environmental engineers from the National Research Centre in Cairo, Egypt. There are many others now involved in this program including architects, fabrication consultants, and engineers.
Is Plastic Strong Enough?
At the moment, they’re working on using empty water bottles to build the walls and roof of emergency shelters. They are testing the strength of the material under stress and many other structural components. One interlocking pattern has been developed by Friendship Products led by inventor Timothy Carlson.
As inventors, engineers, and architects continue to test and redesign the various methods of these plastic “building blocks” they are coming up with ways to make the bottles stronger. Some designs fill the bottles with dirt then use them like bricks. With too much pressure on them, the plastic will burst allowing the dirt to spill out. Similar problems like these have come up over the course of this project but researchers are still certain they can develop something that will stand up.
Mohammed Alnaggar, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, comments: “This project presents a unique collaboration to optimize function and shape. The structural engineering research is focusing on studying all the mechanics of the interlocking between the bottles. This provides the architectural engineers with the needed properties to create not only an aesthetically appealing structure but also a structurally sound and safe one.”
The project’s team has worked hard and been relentless in their efforts. They believe that eventually, plastic bottles can be used in various ways in the construction process. This would lower the cost of construction projects and put an end to the problem of plastic waste in our landfills and oceans.
Store your Tools Properly
Tool storage technology is moving forward as well. Tool cabinets are lighter but more durable these days. They come with guarantees that make them a good investment for any construction worker. Whether you’re a plumber, electrician or framer, you need good tools to do your work each day. Professional tools can be expensive and they deserve the best protection.
RolaCase and RolaShelf have made a name for themselves in Australia and now in the U.S. due to their excellent durability. The RolaCase line includes van racking components, trolley cabinets, and custom made shelving for any work truck or van. Prices are affordable and products are fully guaranteed. Whether you’re working on the tallest building in the world or your new shed in the backyard, RolaCase products protect your tools from weather, vandalism and other dangers.