Rounding out Earth Week I wanted to share another story relating to the “3 R’s” – reduce, reuse, recycle.

A 25-year-old from Portland, OR volunteering with the Peace Corps in Granados, Guatemala thought outside of the box when she saw the village’s school building was breaking down. Dreams don’t just come true in Disney World. Laura Kutner’s plan was to rebuild the school’s walls with waste plastic bottles and to cover with a thin layer of cement and paint, leaving a spot on one wall to expose the distinctive construction.

With the help of the school students who were asked to find at least 20 bottles each, every bottle was stuffed with plastic bags to strengthen the structure. The process took about 6,000 bottles and months of work. Talk about a value-ad to this project; by collecting bottles and plastic bags the students cleaned up ditches and hillsides of their village and even neighboring villages. By including the students in the process they shared pride in rebuilding the new school and became more aware to clean up garbage around the village.

Thanks to Laura for acting on her dreams to help this village’s school, the mayor of Granados is even talking about building a bottle sidewalk if they can find enough materials.

What a true inspirational story to be told this Earth Week.
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Tina Lamanna

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