Solar lights and hot water heaters from plastic water bottles, houses made from trash and a way to do without plastic bags are some of the projects making reducing, reusing and recycling not only fun and affordable but also vital to improving the quality of life of people all around the world.
Let's start first with Alfredo Moser, the mastermind behind the water bottle solar light. As a mechanic during the 2002 blackouts in Brazil, he figured out a way to light his workshop and be able to continue working: he explains all about the light and the impact it is having in his community in this 2008 video:
The Liter of Light project in the Philippines has taken this idea through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and turned it into an industry which will benefit not only the people who live in the newly lighted homes, but also the families of the people making and installing the lights.
Also through Eco-Ideas comes this video from Thailand, where University students are using trash to make building materials for a home:
If you are interested in improving your own life by recycling, why not try making this shopping bag out of repurposed aluminum coffee bags, like this Finnish woman?
Or learn how to make different bags using a square of fabric and knots, in what is known in Japan as furoshiki: