In the search to find solutions to both plastic waste and affordable housing, architects across the planet have alighted upon an idea that is seemingly obvious: using discarded single-use plastic bottles as construction material. There is a movement in many countries to better utilize our discarded plastic bottles, and the idea of repurposing them into sustainable housing has come along at just the right time. Read on to discover how it is done.
In Columbia, for instance, there is an architecture school that models this way of building on ancient methods of adobe house construction. Builders take the PET plastic bottles, and fill them with sand. Stacking them and holding them in place with wet earth mixed with hay (that will dry into adobe) is an inexpensive solution to building material. The shape of the sand-filled bottle makes it good for insulation. Rainwater systems for washing are then built in along with amenities like composting toilets. The result is a highly sustainable, livable but basic rural house.
Architects cannot afford not to take sustainability into account when designing buildings these days. Not only is waste becoming unaffordable, it makes the project look bad, decreasing its value in the eyes of buyers and in the eyes of the community. Plastic bottles go a long way in projecting the ideal of sustainable building.
Moreover, PET plastics are a good solution as building material because they are highly durable. This method takes one of plastic’s environmental disadvantages, in that it takes a long time to break down, and turns it into an advantage. The plastic will stay strong and its form will remain intact for years and years, making a well-constructed house safe to live in for generations.
Plastic bottles are the bread and butter of many packaging companies. It is good to know that they need not be destined for bloated landfills, or worse, oceans. Intelligent and creative people like those repurposing PET plastic bottles into housing material are at the forefront of the shift in global thinking in regards to how we treat our plastic waste. At All In Packaging, we support and encourage this. If you have heard of any other great ways plastics are being kept out of the landfill, let us know.