Tag Archives: Recycling

The Solar Bottle Bulb

I have been meaning to write about this project for months now, just got around to it today. Back in September of 2011 I read about Isang Litrong Liwanag (A Liter of Light) project in Manila powered by pop bottles and bleached water! A bottle with water is enough to light up a small room. In the poor neighborhoods of Manila shacks have dark roofs and hardly any daylight. Many of the homes are not connected to the electric grid and in third world countries continuous power availability is not a given.

This year i.e 2012 is the year they plan to complete lighting 1 million homes using this green technology. The clear water disperses the light in all directions through refraction, which can provide a luminosity that is equivalent to a 55-watt electric light bulb, according to the MyShelter Foundation.

The idea behind the Solar Water Bulb is the brainchild of Alfredo Moser a mechanic from Sao Paulo, Brazil; who came up with it during the 2002 power shortage in Brazil to light up his workshop for working during the day! Like Plato said Necessity is indeed the mother of invention!

MIT students have been instrumental in spreading the usage of this simple and virtually free technology to the third world countries as a remedy to light up dark areas during the day without windows! They disperse light to all the corners of the room unlike skylights which are pretty much unidirectional.

How to Make Your Own Solar Bottle Bulb?

Raw materials Needed
1. 1 liter Pet Bottle
2. Galvanized iron corrugated or flat roofing sheet size 9″ x 10″
3. Chlorine (10ml per liter)
4. Steel Brush or Sand Paper
5. Snipping tools to cut the sheet
6. Pliers to fold the sheet back
7. Rubber Sealant or Epoxy resin – to seal and attach the bottle
8. Screws to attach it to the roof securely
9. Filtered water


On the galvanized roof sheet piece cut a circle 2mm smaller than the diameter of the bottle. Make small cuts perpendicularly along the edge and fold them upwards. Take the bottle and rub the sides to make it rough enough for the glue to adhere. Pass the bottle through the hole and hold in place using the folded edges of the sheet (1/3rd of the bottle above the fold). Apply glue to the bottle and the folded edges to seal and attach them together. Now pour 10ml of Chlorine into the bottle and top it up with filtered water. Close the lid tightly.

Now cut a hole on the roof of the shack where the light is needed. Apply sealant or epoxy resin around the opening to cover an area equivalent to the 10″x9″ sheet. Press it down and secure with screws. The bottle top which will be exposed to the elements needs to be protected (use plastic tubing and sealant to protect it). The Solar Water Bulb is ready and spreading light. The bottle light is believed to have a life of up to 5 years!!

How Does it work?

Simple: water diffracts the light, letting it spread throughout the house instead of focusing on one point. The chlorine keeps the water clear and microbe-free.

Positive Attributes – One can make on ones own Solar Bottle Bulb from waste materials! It can be installed any place world over where there is a roof. It is easily portable and yes, there are a huge number of households world over which do not get enough light during the day.

For e.g 360 million people in India lack access to electricity!!

Negative Attributes – Does not work during night when people do need light. The bottles sticking out of the roof is not very aesthetically pleasing 🙂

I am amazed at the possibilities such a simple idea provides – It is Green, Eco friendly, Cost effective and Practical! Try it out!

Things to watch out for or remember-

Make sure you seal the roof properly to avoid water damage.

Cover the bottle cap to make sure it does not disintegrate.

It only works during the day when there is sunlight.


Isang Litrong Liwanang

Trash Inc the Film On Trash by CNBC

Today after missing it many times I watched Trash Inc:The Secret life of garbage on CNBC, I have been seeing it advertised but did not get a chance to view it the first time it aired on the 29th of September. I think it is well made, simple and covers a wide range of what trash does once it leaves us- the consumers.

We buy stuff, use some throw what we don’t need into the trash cans, leave them at the curb and once the trash trucks pick them up and leave our trash bins empty we go back to fill it up again for the next week.. for most of us once the trash truck leaves our streets trash is no longer an issue. Being aware of where our trash ends up, I believe is part of personal responsibility. When we know how  what we throw out impacts our environment, how can any one amongst us sit idle with out taking action?

Trash Pickup and recycling waste is a billion dollar industry. Most of the trash generated which can be recycled ends up in the developing world where cheap labor makes it easier to break and sort things for recycling. It was also eye opening to see how trash dumps have evolved over they years into energy producing technological marvels. The film pretty much takes your through the route a piece of trash can take and it was an educative experience for me.

It was eye opening, seeing where trash ends up, and how large the landfills and the garbage patches in the oceans are etc… What was equally interesting and shocking was the knowledge that even when one thinks one is recycling by sorting plastic and paper etc al, the percentage of plastic recycled is 1 in 5 bottles in the United States! and we use 51 billion plastic bottles approximately a year! and to think only 1 in 5 gets to recyclers, imagine the sheer magnitude of just plastic bottles which end up in the landfills and water ways…

I do recommend that the documentary is worth watching for every one of us. It is on at 8PM EST on the 6th of October 2010 on CNBC, check it out and you be the judge.

Below are a couple of video sneak peeks from Trash Inc:

Tracking trash using technology –

In South Carolina BMW has a manufacturing plant which runs on Methane from a landfill!!check it out