PET-bottles: From waste to resource

University essay from KTH/Skolan för industriell teknik och management (ITM)

Abstract: One of the biggest problems in Guatemala is the handling of plastic waste. Many of the watercourses and rivers in Guatemala are filled with plastic bottles which has a negative impact on both nature and the country’s inhabitants. At the same time, Guatemala is dealing with the problem of segregation between rich and poor. More than half of the population live under the poverty line and in bad conditions. Houses created by thin walls and aluminium roofs are common. In an earlier project an attempt to tackle part of these two issues has been developed by creating roofs our of plastic bottles. The project has been successful but also has some room for improvements. In this report these areas of improvements are investigated and analyzed by building a roof for a structure of 9 square meters. This project has a focus on improving the production process and product in order to make them comparable with the aluminium roofing sheets most commonly used today. With tests of possible external impacts that the roof likely will have to withstand, the solidity of the roof has been determined at the same time that evaluation of the process for one person has been compared with building a roof out of aluminium. Since aluminium is expensive and difficult to repair, the roof made out of plastic waste could be good alternative. However it may need an industrial process in order to make it cost and time effective. The production of a roof covering a building of nine square meters need 600 bottles and 41 hours of work.

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