Bottles in Zanzibar

Welcome to my weekly blogpost. I hope you still are working on your new years resolutions, if not thats not so bad either, you just need some new goals.

You don’t have to change everything in one week it’s easier to just change one thing at the time or as I like to preach, one plaster a day!

This time I want to introduce you to a new series of posts, where I will talk about suggestions made by my friends or family. As always I would love to hear some suggestions from my other readership as well, just write them in the comments.

The first post of this series, I want to dedicate to my boyfriend, because he is always there for me and really keeps on motivating me writing my blog. As I finally checked up my facebook mailbox as he told me, I found a great hint that led me to the bottle-up foundation, of which I want to talk about today.

This time our journey leads us to the island of Zanzibar, years ago Hubert and Elisabeth van Doorne where doing some nice vacation there but were also complaining about the amount of glass around the island. That at least untill the time they decided to put their money where their mouth was.

Zanzibar, is a beautiful island, who attracts a lot of tourists, they bring a lot of money and generate new jobs but they also create new challanges. In the hotels they drink and eat and so they create a lot of glass-waste. On the island, there are no possibilities to recycle the glass and so the bottles have become a part of the natural vegetation. But neither Hubert and Elisabeth nor the locals wanted to accept this condition. So they founded bottle-up.

In September 2015, six dutch designers, working with the dutch designer week, went to Zanzibar. There they created beautiful designer pieces out of the old glass bottles. Those products were and are sold on the island and the tourists and therefore close the circle by bringing their waste back home as a souvenir. But not only the tourists like the upcycled bottles; they are loved wherever they are seen.

The problem with those masterpieces is, that only around 2% of the bottles can be upcycled into designer products. But it’s a step forward and bottle-up is not easily satisfied when their mission is to clean up Zanzibar and free them from their glasshills.

The next step was to create a material, which could be used on the island, so that they could even be a little less dependent on foreign countries.

So they started a big project last year, to create some sort of brick out of glass, to build houses and furniture. Industrial Design Engineer Lou Van Reemst did a research on the composition of the bottle brick material to meet the standards of normal brick-stones. Within six months she finished her Master thesis for Integrated Product Design in September 2017.

Not only did she achieve her goals, she even created a material twice as strong and price competitive with the local alternative in Zanzibar.

At the moment they are building a special machine which helps scale up the production of the bricks. They have not only invented a conventional brick they have also a designer line, the Trending Terrazzo Line. Those are beautiful innovative bricks, which can be used to build houses, pavements, tables and other furniture.

Bottle-up is a great example of an idea which turned into a beautiful reality. I’m very happy that they realised such an amazing project and hope that other islands can benefit from this idea as well. Like every foundation they need support and so I want to encourage you to share this nice idea, so everybody knows about it.

Click here if you want to see some pictures!

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