Garbage doesn’t need to simply be garbage; it can be used to build new things. At least, that’s what Frank Alsema has done. Profiled by Gizmodo, Alsema is a retired TV producer in the Netherlands who’s been fashioning his home out of garbage and other items he discovered on eBay. He calls the house Palais Récup, or Palace Recover, and he’s turned it into a laboratory for sustainable living.
Alsema began his project in 2013, gathering materials he thought were beautiful and then asking an architect, John Zondag, to design a home around them. Over the years, Palais Récup has become a testing ground for urban green living. Alsema not only employs recycled materials to construct the house, but also works to reuse energy, food scraps, and rainwater.
According to Gizmodo, Alsema estimates around 60 percent of the items in Palais Récup are from eBay, including a 19th-century cupboard. A large spiral staircase originally came from a secondhand car shop. Zondag’s website says the house also contains slate from a church roof, a curtain wall comprised of natural stone via a bankrupt estate, and antique interior doors. Solar panels, a central heating pellet stove, green roofs, a heat sink, and “very high insulation values” are also among the home’s features.
Palais Récup is a work in progress: some rooms have yet to be finished. But this project is just one of Alsema’s and the nearby community’s efforts to foster circular living. Alsema is helping to create a complex of houses on a lot close by for people who aim to live sustainably. About a mile away, another community of people resides in an old shipyard, attempting to clean polluted soil in the area with plants.
Alsema believes that “as we want to change the world…we have to do something, and we have to do it quick…And for that we need a lot of citizens who are going to hack the system, play with the system…If I can do it in Amsterdam North, you can do it. And we can do it together. And we need this system change to create a circular city and create a better world.”
Image via Palais Récup Facebook