Encouraging participation

Building a bottle school is only possible through community participation on a mass scale. Collecting the 6,500 20-ounce soda bottles needed for a two classroom schoolhouse, and stuffing them full of inorganic trash, takes a lot of people working together. With just a small number of people, it’s simply not possible!
Motivating kids and parents to collect and stuff bottles can be done by them seeing and feeling the excitement emanating from the community leaders, and from people such as yourself. If you communicate well, everyone will be happy to contribute their time collecting trash because they will understand that that is their route to building new classrooms. A good guideline is to tell community members that a start date for the construction of the bottle school can not be set until at least two-thirds of the required bottles have been collected and stuffed with trash.
At times, especially near the end of the bottle collection when people are tired and the newness of the activity has worn off, it may be

necessary to provide an incentive structure of some form (a pizza party for the winning class or something like that). Be creative with your rewards, if you choose to use any.

How many bottles does it take to build a school?

Hug It Forward’s bottle schools, and other schools built using the same construction plans, contain over 6,500 20 ounce soda bottles in a two-classroom schoolhouse. As a general rule of thumb, you will need somewhere around 50 bottles per square meter of wall space (assuming you are using 20 ounce/600ml bottles).
For example, if your school were a 3m x 3m room (without windows and a door) that was 3m tall you would need approximately 1,800 bottles.
This is how to work it out:
3m wide x 3m tall x 4 walls = 9m
2 x 4 walls 9m² x 4 walls = 36m²
36m² x 50 bottles per m² = 1,800 bottles