A design for plastic bottles that can be linked together has caught on as a revolution in disaster relief. Called Friendship Bottles, they have been used to construct small dining cabins that are also able to withstand Category 2 storm winds.
Among the most common resource shipped on pallets to disaster-stricken areas is water. If that water were to arrive in Friendship Bottles, those whose houses were destroyed could use them to create a temporary shelter.
This function of use as sustenance-shelter is a no-brainer, according to the inventor of the Friendship Bottle Tim Carlson.
Carlson had been developing the design for the bottles for a decade before COVID-19 hit his home state of New York. But when he was seeing all the makeshift outdoor seating arrangements making his way to the pandemic-hit city, he realized it was the perfect opportunity to test his design.
According to Fast Company, he contacted Peaches Kitchen & Bar and teamed up to assemble two small cabins of Friendship Bottles with wooden support beams.
Along with being quite a striking atmosphere to sit inside, because they acted like a big prism from passing cars, the cubbies stood up to the storms that recently smashed the Big Apple, proving the concept as a disaster-ready building material.
Through a partnership with the Center for Architecture Science and Ecology, Friendship Bottles are being compared to other shelters used by the Red Cross and Red Crescent, including the scenarios and logistics of disaster relief efforts that might use them as delivery containers for water and subsequently as building material.
Elsewhere, plastic bottles are also being made into homes and shelters that are proving to be both bulletproof and earthquake resistant in Nigeria, where they are filled with sand and pressed together with readily available mud.
Friendship Bottles require no mortar or wire of any kind, offering a different kind of solution.
One thing the Friendship team feel they have as an advantage is that there are far fewer limits on what can be assembled using the bottles after they are emptied.
Rather than a prefabricated shelter with instructions, the bottles can be turned into bricks, which can then be made into anything.