A group of 13 IIT-Madras students has designed and tested a construction model using PolyEthylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles for bricks and hopes it will revolutionise future government-sponsored sanitation programmes.

SYNK, the collective behind the project, intends using it to build toilets in rural areas.

It can help reduce plastic waste, said manager Arpan Paul.

The method involves using discarded PET bottles filled with savudu sand (aquifer sand).

“This is not construction grade sand. The type we used for our experiment is what you would find at a landfill,” said W Keerthana, a students.

A little water poured into the PET bottle is drained and then filled with sand to make it strong like a brick.

As a test, the students built a bench using PET bottles on the IIT-M campus last month.

“We sourced 3500 plastic bottles from nearly 10 restaurants in Velachery and Adyar,” said Paul, adding that the method is cost effective and quick.  “It cost us around Rs 4,000 to procure the sand.”

The group is now in talks with city-based restaurants to divert plastic waste.

As the next test, it plans to build a toilet in Bandikavanoor village near Thirunindravur in Tiruvallur district.

“Though many believe that plastic waste gets recycled, the truth is that recycling process can only recover 30% of a plastic product.  The rest ends up as scrap in landfills.  Our idea enables us to reuse the plastic, ensuring that 100% of the bottle stays out of a landfill,” Keerthana said.

Besides, anything built using the formula will can resist damage for 10 years, she said.

Source: Times of India