Thousands of plastic bottles are burnt for waste disposal in Uganda each day, destroying resources while creating pollution and creating health problems. We all know what recycling is, whereby materials are re-used and not disposed or burnt. Old newspapers become toilet paper or a plastic bottle is cut into use as a funnel.

“Upcycling” however uses waste materials to create products of higher value. Even an entire house can be built from plastic bottles. Thousands of plastic bottles are burned daily in every part of Uganda. It is wasting resources and releasing toxic pollutants into the air, land and water. When collected and compacted with soil, “bottle bricks” serve as useful construction material- and most importantly, bottle bricks are free of costs. They are as strong as regular bricks, earthquake resistant, bullet proof and buffer heat.

first fully upcycled learning hut at SINA out of plastic bottles, car tires and egg shellsSINA’s learning spaces are built out of bottle-bricks, marking bold innovation and sparking student’s creativity. The construction itself is part of the project-based learning approach and the training curriculum of the academy. Facilitators and scholars are working together. They raise the academy above the ground into the sky, ideologically and physically- bottle brick by bottle brick. A high sense of ownership and motivation is created and scholars are empowered to think beyond the conventional and to come up with their own creative solutions to Uganda’s challenges.