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#421410 - 11/09/11 03:02 PM Interesting angle on recycling bottles!
Diane Campbell Offline

Nigeria's plastic bottle house
By Sam Olukoya BBC Africa, Yelwa

Nigeria's first house built from discarded plastic bottles is proving a tourist attraction in the village of Yelwa.

Hundreds of people - including government officials and traditional leaders - have been coming to see how the walls are built in the round architectural shape popular in northern Nigeria.

The bottles, packed with sand, are placed on their side, one on top of the other and bound together with mud.

The whole world should come and look at it”
Nuhu Dangote Trader in Kaduna

"I wanted to see this building for myself as I was surprised to hear it was built from plastic bottles," said Nuhu Dangote, a trader who travelled from the state capital, Kaduna, to see the house.

"They were saying it in the market that it looks like magic, that you will be amazed when you see it, that is why I have come here to feed my eyes.

"The whole world should come and look at it."

The real beauty of the house is its outside wall as the round bottoms of the exposed bottles produce a lovely design.

But for those behind the project, its environmental benefits are what are most important.


Twenty-five houses, which will be available to rent, are being built on this estate on land donated by a Greek businessman and environmentalist.
A child in Yelwa packing bottles with sand Children making money filling bottles may one day be able to attend a school to be built on the estate

Each house - with one bedroom, living room, bathroom, toilet and kitchen - uses an estimated 7,800 plastic bottles.

This "bottle brick" technology started nine years ago in India, South and Central America, providing a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly alternative to conventional building bricks.

Yahaya Ahmed of Nigeria's Development Association for Renewable Energies, estimates that a bottle house will cost one third of what a similar house made of concrete and bricks would cost.

It is also more durable.

"Compacted sand inside a bottle is nearly 20 times stronger than bricks," he says. "We are even intending to build a three-storey building."

The bottle houses are also ideally suited to the hot Nigerian climate because the sand insulates them from the sun's heat, helping to keep room temperatures low.

And because of the compact sand, they are bullet-proof - which may also prove another attraction in more insecure parts of the north.

A firm concrete foundation is laid to ensure that the structure is firm and stable - and the sand is sieved to make sure it is compact.

"You need to sieve it to remove the stones otherwise it will not be nice and it would not be able to pass through the mouth of the bottle," explains Dolly Ugorchi, who has been trained in bottle house building.
Inside walls of the sand bottle house Bottles for the houses are mainly sourced from hotels and restaurants

Some have expressed concern about the amount of sand needed for the new houses.

"My fear is that this building method will increase the demand for sand and even lead to an increase in the price of sand," says Mumuni Oladele, a mason in the southern city of Lagos

"At the moment people looking for sand to build houses dig everywhere to get the sand. You can imagine what will happen when the demand for sand goes up to build bottle houses."

According to market research company Zenith International, most water in Nigeria is sold in small plastic bags, but it says the bottled water market is growing - accounting for about 20-25% of official sales, the equivalent of up to 500m litres a year.

This means discarded plastic bottles are actually sought after in Nigeria where they are often used for storage or by street vendors to sell produce like peanuts.

The bottles for these houses are currently being sourced from hotels, restaurants, homes and foreign embassies.

The project is also hoping to help to remove children who do not go to school from their life on the streets.

"I don't want to be a beggar, I want to work and get paid - that is why I am doing this job," says 15-year-old Shehu Usman, who is working on the building site.

"When I grow old I want to build myself a house with bottles," he says.

After the 25 houses have been completed, the next construction project for the Development Association for Renewable Energies will be a school on the estate, which street children like Shehu will be able to attend.

#421428 - 11/09/11 05:00 PM Re: Interesting angle on recycling bottles! [Re: Diane Campbell]
Judyann H. Online   content
This is really a great idea....My first thought when I saw the building is that if they paint it pink it would look a little like the island market...
My friends call me Judyann


#421476 - 11/09/11 09:36 PM Re: Interesting angle on recycling bottles! [Re: Judyann H.]
seashell Offline
Don't those plastic bottles eventually start to give off some sort of gas that is a cancer causing agent?
A fish and a bird can fall in love, but where will they build their nest?

#421483 - 11/09/11 10:21 PM Re: Interesting angle on recycling bottles! [Re: seashell]
lovey and thurston Offline
That is so cool, makes me want to build something!
R.B. Mernitz

#421510 - 11/10/11 05:41 AM Re: Interesting angle on recycling bottles! [Re: Diane Campbell]
seashell Offline
You got that right! It is quite exotic looking. Really like it, just don't want anyone to get sick. But hey, "they" say that most everything makes us sick nowadays . . . so why not live in a great house, in the meantime. Maybe you won't get bit by a lion.

A fish and a bird can fall in love, but where will they build their nest?

#421511 - 11/10/11 05:42 AM Re: Interesting angle on recycling bottles! [Re: Diane Campbell]
seashell Offline
On high ground, might be a pretty good hurricane proof house too?
A fish and a bird can fall in love, but where will they build their nest?

#421520 - 11/10/11 01:41 PM Re: Interesting angle on recycling bottles! [Re: Diane Campbell]
Diane Campbell Offline
This design would not have any hurricane-resistant qualities as built. It's stuck together with mud and has no straps or re-bar etc.
What this does point to is that we can use the ever-present plastic bottle in very interesting and attractive, site-appropriate ways and keep this trash out of the oceans.......
Scary to think that a house being bullet-proof is important, no?

#421593 - 11/10/11 09:07 PM Re: Interesting angle on recycling bottles! [Re: Diane Campbell]
GwenA Offline
We just bought a zero water filter pitcher to see how it works on San Pedro city water. I'm really so done with water bottles! In the States we have a super filter in our fridge, and have quit buying water in bottles. But that house is so, FOR SALE! I really like avoiding plastic bottles!

#421609 - 11/11/11 12:31 AM Re: Interesting angle on recycling bottles! [Re: Diane Campbell]
Diane Campbell Offline
Avoiding plastic bottles is the best .... agree 10,000%
"But" the world is full of them ...... so build a bullet proof house ...... for some folks it works.

#421642 - 11/11/11 07:56 AM Re: Interesting angle on recycling bottles! [Re: Diane Campbell]
seashell Offline
Doh! I was only thinking of wind and ocean water, not rain, doh!
A fish and a bird can fall in love, but where will they build their nest?

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