Plastic bottles compactly filled with sand is reportedly 20 times stronger than bricks and concrete.
Cover image source: YouTube Screenshot/Al Jazeera
By: Sethuraman S
Editor's note: This article was originally published on July 15, 2022. It has since been updated.
Plastic is, without a doubt, one of the biggest banes of the environment. Plastic production has skyrocketed since the 1950s and it's nonbiodegradable, which means it simply doesn't decompose. The dumping of plastic has become one of the biggest environmental issues, but Nigeria is showing the world an amazing way to repurpose plastic for a better future. Nigerian companies are now using plastic bottles to build homes that can withstand powerful earthquakes and even bullets. The technology is called the "bottle trick." The first house to be built using recycled plastic bottles was in the village of Yelwa. The house has turned into a tourist attraction with even government officials and traditional leaders paying a visit to see the marvel. The eco-friendly home was built with nothing but plastic bottles, sand and mud, reported Power of Positivity.
The bottles are filled with sand and the bottom of the bottle is kept facing outside, giving a unique look to the wall. They are used as "bricks" and laid on top of each other and held together by mud. While houses in most places around the world are traditionally built in a square shape, it's common for homes in Nigeria to be built in a circular fashion. The homes using the "bottle trick" method are also built circularly, keeping them in style with the other homes in the region. While the homes are beautifully designed, the idea is to preserve the environment by repurposing plastic. The homes being built usually come with a bedroom, living room, bathroom, toilet, and kitchen. Each structure is believed to require at least 7,800 plastic bottles. Companies have already built 25 structures using plastic bottles and they're expected to become very popular among the environmentally conscious. The companies said they first lay a concrete foundation, before building walls using plastic bottles and sand.
The innovative method has attracted interest abroad, with a Greek businessman and environmentalist donating a large sum of money for the project. While the “bottle brick” technology might have caught on in Nigeria, it was initially tried in India, South America, and Central America close to a decade ago. It is a cost-effective and eco-friendly option compared with traditional brick homes, which makes it accessible to many. According to Yahaya Ahmed of Nigeria’s Development Association for Renewable Energies, plastic bottle houses cost 67% less than a home built from concrete and brick. He also added that with sand compactly packed in plastic bottles, the homes have 20 times the strength of bricks. Ahmed says the company has already made plans to build a three-story home using plastic bottles and mud. Read more here: https://scoop.upworthy.com/nigerians-is-building-earthquake-proof-homes-from-plastic-bottles-576290-576290