The Surprising Way Plastic Bottles are Changing Lives

by Michael Drew on September 12, 2014

Michael Drew · Small Actions · September 12, 2014

It can take up to 1,000 years for a plastic bottle to fully decompose. And every second some 1,500 of these bottles end up in landfills.

But one simple idea has started keeping a number of plastic bottles out of landfills. Instead of becoming a mountain of trash, these plastic bottles are bringing light to people who live in very dark spaces, one liter at a time.

Here’s how it started. In 2011 in the capital of the Philippines, one home was lit up without the use of electricity. All it took was a plastic bottle and a few simple ingredients. Check it out. (I bet you’ll never look at a plastic bottle the same.)

[jwplayer config=”video_center” file=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Flwbapbq4Ko” width=”540″ height=”420″]

Through the Liter of Light movement, more than 15,000 solar bulbs have been installed in more than 20 cities throughout the Philippines. The solar light bulb idea has since spread to other countries including Peru, Colombia, Kenya, Guatemala and Switzerland. Solar bulbs reduce electricity bills significantly. But the real benefit of these bulbs can’t be measured in dollars and cents — the value of are doing  more than save a few pesos on electric bills.

Can something as small as a plastic bottle change the world? Perhaps. Without a doubt, plastic bottles are changing lives. It really doesn’t take much. Small actions can make a big difference.

The Liter of Light movement is working to install one million lights around the world by 2015. You can help.

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