14,000 plastic bottles = 1 house

In Nigeria, a country with around 160 million inhabitants, three million plastic bottles are daily thrown out. Turning the situation around a group of activists came up with a plan to build a house using plastic bottles addressing both the enormous housing shortage in Africa’s most populous nation and the serious waste and energy problems in the region.

According to Nigeria’s Federal Mortgage Bank, the country lacks around 16 million housing units that require $300 billion to meet. Plastic houses are cheap to construct and cost a quarter of the money required to build a conventional house. Furthermore plastic bottles which are normally thrown out in the area take hundreds of years to bio-degrade creating enormous problems with pollution. This project is confronting these problems in an innovative and creative way.

The plastic bottle housing project was initiated by the Kaduna-based NGO Development Association for Renewable Energies (DARE), with help from foreign experts from Africa Community Trust, a London-based NGO. The two-bedroom bungalow is 58-square meters big, looks like an ordinary home but is anything but ordinary.

The bungalow is made from capped, sand-filled plastic bottles, each weighing three kilos. The bottles are stacked into layers and bonded together by mud and cement, with a complex network of strings holding each bottle by its neck, providing extra support to the structure. The people behind the project claim the sand-filled bottles are stronger than ordinary cinder blocks.

Yahaya Ahmad, the project coordinator, said to Physorg.com: “The structure has the added advantage of being fire proof, bullet proof and earthquake resistant, with the interior maintaining a constant temperature of 18°C, which is good for tropical climate.”

Furthermore the bungalow is designed to be carbon-neutral and will be powered only by solar panels and methane gas from recycled human and animal waste.

When finished, the house construction that started in June will be used to train others in building such bungalows. Furthermore a second plastic bottle project is due to begin in January at a primary school in Suleja near Nigeria’s capital Abuja.

 

Credits: Andreas Froese ECOTEC (picture) and Aminu Abubakar

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