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Building homes from plastic bottles

We think it’s best to avoid using plastic as much as possible. We can rather choose reusable items and compostable packaging. That said, it is a good idea to use some the waste that has been, and is unfortunately still being produced.

Building homes from plastic bottles is an idea that has been used in India, South America and parts of Africa. A plastic bottle is filled with sand or with other clean un-recyclable waste, which then gets compacted tightly. The plastic bottles are then laid down in rows like bricks and can be cemented together with clay mud or cement.

A sand-filled bottle makes a great for a brick; an excellent low cost resource which has insulation properties – they can be used to build houses, water tanks, cisterns, greenhouses and more.  Plus the shape of the bottle makes a beautiful design feature.

This is happening in South Africa. It started as part of Greyton Transition town’s drive to turn rubbish into ecobricks. Community members were incentivised to swap ecobricks (plastic bottles tightly packed with non recyclable rubbish) for good donated from local shops and businesses.  They successfully build a number of community buildings using eco bricks.

We recently sponsored Walking the Daisies where rubbish was carefully separated into compostable and recyclables. Any remaining rubbish was ecobricked.  The ecobricks collected at Daisies were used in Waste-ED building projects, including one with the City of Cape Town constructing an Early Childhood Development Centre out of (almost entirely) reclaimed and natural materials.