Building Blocks: Plastic Bottle Houses / by Nicole Frederick

A trend to build homes our of plastic bottles and mud is taking hold in many countries throughout Africa and Latin America. Even though the plastic bottle seems like a very unlikely candidate for robust and sturdy building in actuality it is quite the opposite.

The process is simple. Bottles are collected and filled with sand, then stacked on their sides and bound together with mud or a cement mix, creating solid walls. The structures are well insulated, incredibly strong (20 times stronger than a brick), fire resistant, and even bulletproof. A typical two-bedroom home with a toilet, a kitchen, and a living room requires 14,000 plastic bottles and costs a quarter of what a traditional home would. Wowzers, is the plastic bottle house starting to seem more appealing yet? 

In the United States alone, we discard 47 billion plastic bottles a year. That could make almost 3,357,143 two-bedroom homes at a fraction of the cost and that's not their only allure. The obvious environmental effect would also have a tremendous impact as plastic is to often not recycled properly ending up in landfills across the country. Plastic is also known to harm mass amounts of sea and wild life every year. 

This type of building inspires community outreach with many members helping on mass collections and clean ups while formulating a plan to build a new house. With many people becoming more secluded these days a little more community outreach could be just what the doctor ordered. All in all, there aren't many downfalls to using plastic bottles to build houses, and you can even design houses with vaulted plastic bottle ceilings if you so wish. Frederick Construction is all for this building block becoming an environmentally friendly, home building staple.