Our landfills are filling up faster and faster with millions of tons of non-biodegradable trash every year--but what if we could take that waste and turn it into construction material? Introducing Waste House, the UK's first permanent building made almost entirely out of trash, from floppy disks to toothbrushes. Designed by the East Sussex studio BBM as a "live" research project and design workshop on sustainable development for the University of Brighton, the carbon negative Waste House was built to prove "that there is no such thing as waste, just stuff in the wrong places."
Located on the University of Brighton’s campus, the Waste House was designed by BBM Director Duncan Baker-Brown in collaboration with undergraduate Brighton students. The contemporary home is made from over 85% waste material taken from nearby construction sites and homes and includes trash such as old plastic razors, denim jeans, videocassettes, and 20,000 toothbrushes. Much of the rubbish was inserted into the walls as insulation and different groups of trash will be monitored with sensors for their insulation effectiveness.
Two thousand recycled and weatherproof carpet tiles clad the exterior facade while old vinyl banners are used as internal vapor control layers. Ground-granulated blast-furnace slag makes up the foundation. The building’s timber frame uses plywood salvaged from a nearby construction site. In addition to the high-carbon waste, organic materials were also used to build the house. To improve energy efficiency and thermal conductivity, the builders constructed rammed earth walls out of chalk waste and clay.
The Waste House now serves as an open design research studio for students of University of Brighton’s Sustainable Design MA and is also available as a resource for other schools, colleges, and community groups interested in hosting sustainability-themed events and workshops. Much of the construction material is made visible inside the house and is complemented with educational signage. The eco-house was recently completed in April 2014 after approximately one year of construction time.
Images via BBM