Tafline Laylin

Africa's First Plastic Bottle House Rises in Nigeria

by , 11/07/11

African Community Trust, Dare, Plastic bottle House, Nigeria, Africa, Africa's first bottle home, bulletproof, fireproof, earthquake resistance, humanitarian design, recycled materials, pollution, housing shortage, Kaduna, plastic, green design, sustainable design, eco-design

With a serious housing shortage but no shortage of plastic bottles littering the streets, the Development Association for Renewable Energies (DARE) – an NGO based in Nigeria – decided to build this incredible two-bedroom bungalow entirely out of plastic bottles! Although many in Kaduna were dubious when the project began construction in June this year, the nearly-complete home is bullet and fireproof, earthquake resistant, and maintains a comfortable interior temperature of 64 degrees fahrenheit year round!


African Community Trust, Dare, Plastic bottle House, Nigeria, Africa, Africa's first bottle home, bulletproof, fireproof, earthquake resistance, humanitarian design, recycled materials, pollution, housing shortage, Kaduna, plastic, green design, sustainable design, eco-design

Hundreds of plastic bottles were filled with sand and then linked together at the neck by an intricate network of string. The bottles were then strategically laid and packed down with a combination of mud and cement, creating a building material that DARE claims is stronger than cinder blocks!

The multi-colored bottle caps extend from the 624 square foot bungalow’s wall, creating a facade that gives an otherwise dull building a lovely splash of color. DARE received assistance from African Community Trust, a London-based NGO, and hopes to roll out similar buildings in the future. This project has the potential to not only improve the housing shortage, but clean up the streets as well!

+ DARE

Via Physorg

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48 Comments

  1. Karri Patton December 9, 2014 at 7:16 am

    what address could I send donations of bottles and supplies to ?

  2. Saadia Aziz July 30, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    I am from Pakistan and i see this has potential for the people. could you please provide updates as to how the house has fared over time.

    it would be helpful if details on how the interior was developed in regards to sanitation and cooking needs.

    how was the roof made?

    were structural supports used for walls like metal girders?

    people here are generally hesitant about new building methods so is it possible to sort of update the overall aesthetic appeal like maybe be able to paint the exterior and plaster over interior (i’m guessing because i see the bottles are used in the brick sense and technically this should not disrupt any of the other building standards).

    a reply would be much appreciated. thanks in advance

  3. Liesbeth July 18, 2014 at 11:53 am

    This is real architecture. Beautiful.

  4. Edie Preston December 6, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    So glad that I saw this post – now I know what next year’s raised garden beds will be made of!

  5. Ashley Mears December 6, 2013 at 2:19 am

    @ Fernando, These houses are all around the world. They\’re called \”Earthships\”! Happy discovering :)

  6. Fernando Pinto November 30, 2013 at 5:58 am

    After just two years of completion, I would like to know how the construction is reacting and what are the strongest and the weakest points in it right now. Only observing and analysing the behaviour of a structure during its lifespan one can take advantage of the experience. It is still too early but some lessons are already possible to learn. All theoretical solutions are good until the prove in real conditions. So, I would like to know:
    1. How much does cost the whole construction?
    2. Some detail are welcome: human work/time needed if not paid, new materials such as sanitary, windows and doors, floors, roofs, concrete used, etc;
    2. Total time consumed;
    3. Weather conditions during these two years and structure reaction;
    4. Pros and cons of this experiment, after two years of use.
    Thaks in advance for the answers.

  7. K.C. Compton November 25, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Yeah, Montium, that was a little dumb. I skimmed. :=}
    Still … cool idea.

  8. Teresa Blakeslee November 25, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPxXH7rCSHQ This is a video showing a bottle building actually being built. I would think you could use some sort of conduit for wiring, and maybe do the roof differently in a colder climate.

    It would also be easy to add a composting toilet, and use some bottles or cans for solar heat. I’ve seen videos of plastic bottles used for allowing light to come in, in the roof.

  9. Montium November 25, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    I’m going to go with this K.C. Compton ” Hundreds of plastic bottles were filled with sand” RIF

  10. K.C. Compton November 25, 2013 at 7:21 am

    I love the idea of stuffing the bottles with plastic bags, as someone mentioned below. Does anyone know if there are issues with off-gassing if one does this? Can you imagine the impact if plastic bags and bottles suddenly became a RESOURCE to be gathered and put to excellent use? Such an exciting possibility …

  11. K.C. Compton November 25, 2013 at 7:15 am

    Do you have any idea whether the bottles are filled with dirt or sand? The uniform color makes me think that they are, and that would certainly make the structure more stable. I’d love to find out more details about the construction. What a great idea!

  12. sidneyanne November 25, 2013 at 12:14 am

    I want to know how to build one. This is great!

  13. Rosemary Brown November 25, 2013 at 12:09 am

    What makes it bullet and fireproof, earthquake resistant, and maintains a comfortable interior temperature of 64 degrees fahrenheit year round!

  14. troy8418 November 24, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    what is the roof structure comprised of?

  15. Gary Green November 24, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Like the gentleman from Pakistan said, I’d really like to see detailed instructions, not just some googled pictures. I know, I’m asking someone to do a lot of work here but think of the good an all inclusive pdf could do in the world. Maybe some YouTube videos too. Either way, thank you for sharing.

  16. Richard Frazee November 24, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    This is proven to be a good job well done. I\\\’m wondering how well those plastic bottles would hold up if they were filled with water? If that were done, then more light would be able to be let in the house.

  17. Eileen Reilly Nephin Bish November 24, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    This should be shown to the leaders of every country facing housing difficulties worldwide!

  18. symtalha November 5, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Hi, I’m from Pakistan, I reall want to know detailed instructions, or a step by step guide, that how you made the walls, can we decorate it or give it an american interior look, i want to know about severage system, electric system, and other things that should be kept in mind while building a house, this is a marvelous idea, i’m really thinking to implement it in my country. I’m open for the business talks, thanks.

    Regds,
    Muhammad Talha

  19. Troy Walsh November 4, 2013 at 5:43 am

    Great sustainability initiative & use of what is effectively a waste material & problem in many parts of the world (albeit they can be recycled but this is a fantastic use). Would be lovely to get a very detailed step by step instructions so this could be replicated elsewhere by others around the globe, would allow for discussion & maybe even potential additions, ideas & improvements, awesome :))))

  20. ecotec October 11, 2013 at 10:30 am

    HI, thanks for all your positive thoughts and comments. Robotech, typically all construction is covered with plaster so you do not see the bottles. This is done using a regular cement mixture, a cement to soil mixture (more clay means less cement = less cost) or traditional soil (clay) plaster. Please google images and you will see other examples of finished work. We hope to see photos of your own bottle project soon….

  21. robotech Robotech October 11, 2013 at 1:46 am

    I see a potential problem here. Most of the plastics used eventually become brittle with long-term exposure to the UV in sunlight. Similar techniques using glass bottles and aluminum cans don’t have that particular problem.

    A simple solution might be to use an appropriate paint or stucco coating on the exposed plastic. While a stucco coating may not stick well to the plastic, inserting small sticks or stones between the bottles that stuck out a little way would provide suitable anchoring, much the way the ancient Mayans did for coating the walls of some of their structures.

  22. Sarah Ryman October 9, 2013 at 9:39 am

    This is brilliant!

  23. Tanya Weaver October 8, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    I am so happy to see this! I work in various African countries with AIDS orphans and this would be amazing for any of them to live in. Or, for me, when we are in Africa! Wow…wonderful work.

  24. Judi Sprayberry October 8, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Wow! Amazing! We’ve been using Earthbag Construction in Zambia, but this is a GREAT concept also!

  25. Marina Pindar September 6, 2013 at 7:55 am

    Increible…

  26. Rolande August 29, 2013 at 7:58 am

    Hmmm similar to earthships but less labour intensive!

  27. Kumar Nanda August 3, 2013 at 4:26 am

    IT IS AMAZEING AND NICE THINK AND THOSE WHO ARE WORKING TO THEM HATSOFF AND U PLEASE PROVIDE ME FULL DETAILS OF THIS GREAT WORK I WANT TO KNOW WHO U PEOPLE ARE DOING SUCH GOOD WORK SO PLEASE PROVIDE ME DETAILS

    THANKS AND REGARDS
    NANDA KUMAR

  28. Heidi Cassell-Rafik July 28, 2013 at 5:17 am

    Simply amazing! I wish for this here in Tunisia. Sadly, many people don\\\’t have the open mind it takes to try such construction ideas as this. I see plastic everywhere here and have wished for a solution in using it for something long lasting and purposeful. Way to go DARE! I can\\\’t wait to see the finished product here if you will kindly post photo\\\’s of the finished home. God Bless!

  29. Nathaniel Taniel July 24, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    POVERTY IS THE BEGGINING OF INVENTION.,.,THUMBS UP FOR THR PEOPLE WHO BUILT IT,

  30. Mohammad Reza Shahrokha... July 20, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    what about vertical and horizontal joints? How does the ceiling cover up?

  31. ecotec December 21, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    HI BitemeKangeze John, what are you basing your comments on? If it is opinion then please allow me to give you what we know so far as fact.
    The bottles do not react in anyway whatsoever to the binding material. Why should they?
    Even if water or air is involved in this, how would that play any negative factor? Ay any rate, the bottles are sealed up in a wall so there is none of either.
    Most of the projects built in Latin America have been through multiple hurricanes and an earthquake. There have been no issues with ANY of these constructions as a result.

    We argue that continuing to build using unbelievably expensive, non sustainable and wasteful techniques is what is crude.

    I really take exception to you total negativity. This offers a true solution. I invite you to please research any of our sites for background information and I hope you will see that the thousands of people effected by Andreas’s building technique are not being duped.

  32. BitemeKangeze John December 14, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    No-no-no!!!!!!!!!
    Crude technology, for sure!
    Can someone else there tell me what the portland cement is made of? Mainly, calcareous materials (limestone, marble, corals- i.e CaCO3).

    A plastic bottle should be very reactive when in contact with a cement, especially in the presence of water or air.
    People believe me; these houses will not last longer.

  33. Sira January 31, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    I love this! This is such an inspiration and such a breath of fresh air from all of the fear that’s being pumped to us daily about “the coming economic collapse!!!” and “the end of the world as we know it!!!” blah blah. Ingenuity like this reminds me that we did it once…we can and will do it again.

  34. @ProjectDonna January 31, 2012 at 6:54 am

    This is amazing! Along time ago, I read an article in which founder of Heineken Beer attempted to do this is South America and thought it was brilliant then… I even wondered why noone else had done this since (nearly, 1939? whe he did). Heineken bottles were actually made in a triangle shape for this purpose -building sustainable homes. Now, if we could only get plastic pottle makers to create a bottle shape that was similar! The round bottles look great too!

  35. Amirah December 15, 2011 at 11:41 am

    By looking at the plastic bottle home all I can say is “Glory be to the Creator”. That is pure creativity from the brain.

  36. ecotec November 15, 2011 at 1:30 am

    Fantastic George, I am emailing you now. We are all about constant innovation. Thanks a lot. John – ECOTC-Africa

  37. George Nez November 12, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Maybe better than traditional roofing: a wide-arched thin-shell latex modified cement roof. Is only 1 cm thick, loaded-tested upwards of 300 kg/m. Comparatively cheapest and most durable. It’s generally conical form similar to traditional thatched roofs. Easily built on ground by common labor and tools with locally available materials. First, the roof armature of straight stems (needing little wood or bamboo) is joined together at certain angles to form large non-planar voids. These spanned with strong cloth or polyester, which forms hyperbolic paraboloidal (hypar) double-arched s surfaces, which are then overlaid with chickenwire. This strong tensile base is then embedded in latex-modified cement/sand to a total thicknes of about 1 cm (yes 10 mm). (Latex is common acrylic or butadiene concrete admixture). Latex cement remains resilient, like fiberglass boat hull. The roof’s firm square base with it’s diagonal joists will help stabilize your curved walls, and also offers four projecting corners out over your doors, windows. The joists can support a floor for a sizeable storage/sleeping loft, where skylight/vent allows air mass convection, effective insulation. Roof can be penetrated by stove-pipes in jackets. Roof’s clean water-collection may be significant for potable water.
    We’ve demonstrated these in U.S., in Afghan, Kenya, Haiti, Bangladesh…in parks, camps, houses, schools. Can send pix. Glad to discuss specs with you, as designer and former UN and USAID field worker in resettlement and earthquake recovery. George Nez, nezgeorge@gmail.com

    no wooden trusses or rafters, only 1/4 of wood or bamboo, plus strong cloth and chickenwire

  38. ecotec November 12, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Hi. Please google ‘ecotec plastic bottle construction’ and you will find many links with images from different blogs and websites. Also please look at http://www.ecotecnologia.com for more images. Andreas has also built a tank for fish farming using PET bottles filled with plastic waste such as plastic bags and packaging. Fill a bottle with plastic at your own house and you will be amazed at how many plastic bags you can get into a 500 ml bottle.

  39. majeral78666 November 11, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    I really enjoy these articles but there is a so little pictures 3 pictures for something a great as this?

  40. Andreas Froese November 11, 2011 at 10:11 am

    We also build a water tank for fish farming out of plastik bouttle
    in the same place

  41. ecotec November 11, 2011 at 5:51 am

    Hi. I am the Project Director in Uganda for the company responsible for this construction method. I just want to answer an earlier comment – our constructions uses traditional roofing, in Nigeria I assume that will mean iron sheets (as it is here in Uganda). We also in many cases use traditional foundations as well though it is possible to use construction waste (also a huge landfill issue) and bottles in foundation construction, therefore using less cement. Thanks for your interest very much.

  42. ECOTEC November 11, 2011 at 5:34 am

    Hi. Thanks so much for sharing this info. I am the Project Director in Uganda for the company that is responsible for this technology. We are ECO-TEC and you can find us at http://www.ecotecnologia.com or http://www.ecotec-africa.com

  43. joa keur November 9, 2011 at 7:27 am

    This is really awesome, now we just need to collect the millions of bottles floating in the ocean and do something like this with them.

  44. gluecke November 8, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Fantastic idea, inventive use of disposables that now become reusables – bravo!

  45. dalecookson@hotmail.com November 8, 2011 at 10:25 am

    What is the roof made of?

  46. fhseon November 7, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Form follows function & pursues ecological necessity…Outstanding….The triad has been attained gracefully…

  47. Tamonearth November 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. We will be doing something similiar in Chiapas, Mexico. http://www.sextosol.org

  48. immortalvegan November 7, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    We only gotta take back the land Now. Then we can build housing for All. – FUCK greedy land owners!!!!! SHARE THE EARTH!! <3

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