Plastic Bottles Equals Solar Bulbs in the Philippines


A recent story in the Panay News got my attention. Plastic bottles being transformed into solar bulbs. We've got a load of empty Coke bottles in our kitchen filled with water. They're on emergency standby to flush the toilet in our CR (Comfort Room) in case NAWASA (National Water and Sanitation Association of the Philippines) doesn't turn the water on one of the three appointed days we do have tubig (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. If you want to get together with me sometime on those days to share a few bottles of San Miguel Pale Pilsen, it will have to be after lunch. The water is scheduled to begin at 9:00 am but doesn't get going until 10:45 or later. It's my job to fill all of our water barrels so any  consumption of adult beverages has to be delayed on those particular days.)DSC

The article I'm referring to stated that the provincial government in Cebu  has required all local government units (LGUs) to start collecting 1.5-liter plastic bottles that will be converted into solar bottle bulbs (SBBs) as part of its push for a greener and healthier province. I just love acronyms, don't you? I thought I had escaped those when I left AT&T (American Telephone and Telegraph.) This solar power project has been added to Cebu's E-Gwen (Expanded Green, Wholesome Environment that Nurtures) contest.

But enough about acronyms, unless you're talking about SMBs. Governor Gwendolyn Garcia's Executive Order 18 (which makes me wonder how long she has been in office if she is only up to the number eighteen in Executive Orders) states that local officials must start collecting the bottles as these will be made into SBBs by the inmates of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) and the Department of Education (DepEd) (Sorry, I sneaked some more acronyms in there.)

So I thought that making the solar bulbs was a great idea. A recent post from Monty "The Iceman" concerning a home he is having built in the Philippines had some comments loaded with some good information from George, Don, Tom, John Miele, Papa Duck, Gary Wigle and Monty himself, who also brought up the issue of solar power.

Now I have to figure out how we can install the plastic bottles we convert into the solar bulbs since the video from YouTube I've attached to the end of this post deals with installing the bottles into metal roofs which are very common in the Philippines. We will not have a metal roof on the new home, probably tile.  But why not check out the video and see what you think. The bulbs can throw off 55 watts of light and could be a good way to cut done on electricity costs. Now if I could just figure out how to convert empty bottles of San Miguel Pale Pilsen or Red Horse into a light source, I'd have it made!

Author: The Kano

POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO" aka "THE CRUSTY OLD EXPAT." Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus" in publication since August 2009. He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions and author of the best-selling guide book "The Philippines Expat Advisor." Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 19 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife." The couple reside in a rural province in Western Visayas, Guimaras. The small island province is said to have the sweetest mangoes in the world. They do not have any children but are the proud owners of eight active canines, including a Belgian Shepherd called "Killer" "Killer" has bitten five people in the last two years along with one goat and a carabao. "Killer" doesn't like strangers. Or goats. Or carabaos.

21 thoughts on “Plastic Bottles Equals Solar Bulbs in the Philippines

  1. Hi Dave,

    I saw this somewhere before and thought about doing it in my tool room out back. Just haven’t gotten around to it yet. In the bakery that I am building I installed three opaque panels which function as skylights. Since they are framed they look like fluoresant light fixtures. I am starting to get a little concerned about you. First you go on a health food kick and now you are an enviornmentalist. I would feel a little better if you mention grilling some greasy hamburgers using some plastic to start your charcoal in your next article.

    1. Awwww, shucks, Tom, sorry some of my recent posts have got you a bit worried. Well, look out for one coming up very soon about the new laundry lady my asawa has hired. She’s a stunner!

  2. Dave,
    Tom has a good point, we’re concerned you might tell us you’ve started hugging trees and how good tofu is for your health. We know it’s hard on you lvivng such a fast paced life over there, but easy does it Dave. Lets slow down and get back to the good ole basics, lots of SMG consumption and real food like a really greasy gut bomb to eat, you’ll feel a lot better and we’ll know you haven’t gone sira ulo. πŸ™‚

    1. OK, John D., I’m going to take your advice. Hopefully I’ll hear from Paul shortly, my American expat friend in Iloilo, and see what kind of plans for the weekend might be transpiring. I’m sure any plans would including partaking of a few San Migs. And don’t worry, I’m all for greasy food. And me, gone loco loco? πŸ˜‰

  3. You Asawa sounds like my Asawa,,,,clean the house before the new luandry/house maid reports for work. When I mention thats what they are supposed to do for their pay check,,,well I am sure you are already familiar with the look I get. Hope your kidding about the “stunner” part. I make sure that our helpers our so ugly that you have to tie a bone around their necks to get the family dog to play with them.

    About the bottles? Yet another reason I have fallen in love with my soon to be new homeland. The inventiveness of the Philippino people is plain stunning. In the Army we call it “field expedience”. The Filippino people have made a national art of doing these types of things.

    1. Scott, I assure you I would have gotten “the look” if I would have made any remark about the CR being cleaned before the “stunning” laundry lady came over (more on the laundry lady story later; once I get done fooling around with the new title and background for this website.)

      Filipinos are indeed resourceful. The bottle bulb was inspired by engineer Amy Smith, from the D-Lab in MIT. Diaz started experimenting with the “Solar Bottle Bulb” technology after watching YouTube videos of her work in Haiti. According to an article in CNN, Illac Diaz, of non-profit My Shelter Foundation, brought the simple, cheap and innovative technology to the Philippines through his project, “A Liter of Light.”

  4. I saw the video on TV a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. Like they said in the video — they don’t give out too much light at night. πŸ˜€

    1. Yeah, guess they wouldn’t give out much light in the evening, Gary, πŸ™‚ but looks like it’s a good alternative for some folks. I’ll be keeping them in mind when we plan for the new house.

  5. Our helper is a stunner Dave, only 24 and is real eye candy. I can NOT get that woman to wear short shorts. Meriam will and I really LIKE that!!!!!!!

    1. I’ll have more on the “stunning story,” later, Gary. If you and our other readers are really lucky, maybe I’ll post a picture of me in some short shorts. πŸ™‚

  6. OMG – Dave…I mean…Dave…Please don’t do that…Please! There is only so much a old man like me can take. Well if you do please shave your legs and put some lipstick on, maybe draw a couple of happy faces on your knees. OMG – Can’t wait for this. πŸ˜€

    1. Ahhhh, shucks, Gary, I’ve haven’t shaved my legs for years. Not since I lost almost 54 pounds or 24% of my weight for a weight loss competition some folks at my job were holding. Don’t know if shaving my hairy legs worked, but I won the competition and walked off with $200.

      Hopefully I can get the asawa to stop laughing long enough to take the pic. I’ll see what I can do. She could always use a good laugh. Wait a minute, she’s married to me. That should be amusement enough for her. πŸ™‚

      1. Dave,

        Gary has a good idea. Maybe you can go a step further and dress up as a ladyboy. Now that would be funny. That is ingenius about the bottles, only downside is its only good in daytime. Tom is right, seems like you are softening up a little from your normal standards. But thats ok. you have to keep the asawa happy. Looking forward to see your hot new laundry helper, who is asawa approved. Take care my friend.

        1. Papa Duck, I can state with absolute certainty that I will NOT be dressing up as a ladyboy. I’m not even sure about the short shorts either, now.
          Oh, please, don’t think I’m softening up. Quite the contrary. I’ve managed to wiggle out of my last official chore around here (more on that later.)
          As for the laundry lady goes, she was hot and is asawa approved to boot. More later. πŸ™‚

  7. Why is it that I get the feeling that Dave’s new helper is a “clock stopper?” Only can wait until Dave posts a photo. Did you note the “was” hot.

  8. Dave,
    When we lived there back in the 70’s & 80’s, my lovely asawa also hired a laundry lady who “was” smokin hot (40 years earlier). But by the time she became employed by us, lets just say the ugly stick looked pretty good. πŸ™‚ C’mon Dave lets see your “was hot” laundry lady….hahahahahaha :-).

  9. Haven’t had a SMB or Red Horse for over a week now, John J, since I got together with Paul and Bruce (who belongs to Mensa and teaches at the local university) over at Salve’s Grill behind the SM Hypermarket.
    Details soon to be released on the new laundry lady. πŸ™‚
    I’ve decided to NOT shave my legs and instead post a picture my staff photographer (my asawa) took of me with my new friend at SM City, a local elf.

Leave a Reply