Green Light For Everyone

Posted by Emma Brownstein
(@Emma Brownstein)

When you think about plastic water bottles, your first thought probably isn’t “green.” But to Liter of Light, a grassroots movement dedicated to providing solar energy to those who lack access to electricity, plastic bottles are a powerful tool.

liter of light
Photo by: Liter of Light

Plastic Bottles

Using an environmentally friendly design incorporating old plastic water bottles and bleach, the Philippines-based MyShelter Foundation is taking action with the Liter of Light movement to provide affordable energy for those who need it most.

By filling the bottles with a combination of bleach and water, MyShelter is able to create solar powered light bulbs that refract sunlight from the outdoors to the home interior. The bottles can also be used at night. In the bottles, there are small, LED bulbs secured in test tubes that are connected to solar panels, which enables light to continue to be refracted when the sunsets.

Each bottle only needs 3 milliliters of bleach with a liter of water and can last for longer than five years. In addition the the bottles, the group also converts kerosine lamps into solar lamps.

Liter of Light
Photo by: Liter of Light

Impact

By the nature of their recycled product, Liter of Light is reducing plastic waste in the countries they serve and is making a dent in the 8 million tons of plastic that enters the ocean each year. It is estimated that they have recycled hundreds of thousands of plastic bottles, but their impact isn’t solely environmental.

Since 2012, Liter of Light has illuminated over 850,000 households in a dozen countries. They train women to make the environmentally-friendly circuits they use in their solar lamps, which they sell for around $10 dollars each, thus benefiting the local economy and ensuring that the lamps can be easily repaired if need be.

Kerosine lamps frequently used by households without electricity often pose threats such as dangerous fume emission and fire hazards. The sustainable, water bottle light sources eliminate such threats and cut down on fumes that harm both the homeowners and the world.

Liter of Light hopes to reach one million people by 2020 and that their movement becomes expands past the foundation itself. “People have spun off our ideas into their own backyard solar business. That’s what we want. A nation of backyard solar entrepreneurs, instead of them relying on our foundation,” said MyShelter founder, Illac Diaz.

Plastic Bottles
Photo by: Liter of Light

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