Essential Pittsburgh
3:37 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

When it Comes to High-Tech Roofing...Plastic Bottles are Key

Strips of plastic soda bottles are being used to create thatching for roofs in developing countries.
Strips of plastic soda bottles are being used to create thatching for roofs in developing countries.
Credit Reuse Everything Institute / Facebook

Reuse Everything Institute, a local non-profit, has created an innovative means of reusing wasted plastic bottles. The non-profit has developed a business solution that could help people in developing countries out of poverty.

Institute founders, David Saiia and Vananh Le hope to use plastic bottles to create high-tech thatch-style roofing. Le says the affordability for consumers is the main focus of REII.

“The roof is high in quality, and we want to make it affordable to the consumer. It requires much less energy than recycling in that we are automating our process. The machine that David created was hand cranked, now we are automating it so that we make it more cost effective for people, generally, pretty much to run mom and pop businesses. So, we actually don’t melt the plastic like recycling, we just cut it into continuous strips of ribbon and convert them into other products.”

The reused plastic of the bottles provides a roof on these homes that lasts approximately 10-15 years, much longer than the commonly used thatch or tin, according to Saiia.