New Mexico is known for its adobe dwellings, Kyoto for its wooden temples, and now, in rural Nigeria, there are villages making waves for their plastic bottle houses.
Discarded plastic bottles can be found along too many miles of Earth roads—and in Nigeria, one of the most populated African countries, there are enough to create a new sustainable construction business.
In fact, there are now houses being built with discarded plastic bottles that are filled with sand and set into a wall via a lattice pattern. The homes are offered for lower prices which helps rural villages.
And, this greener construction method is strong and durable, able to withstand earthquakes—and even bullets.
Called bottle-brick technology, Al Jazeera reports that the walls are 18-times stronger than regular bricks.
In the central state of Kaduna, the project employs out-of-school or jobless youth filling bottles with sand before stacking them amid a glue of traditional mud technology, and securing the outside with a net. The result looks quite striking and can cost a third less than traditional housing in the region, with raw materials being almost free.
As many as 14,000 plastic bottles will go in to making a house, and staff at the Development Association for Renewable Energies are hoping to pitch the project to the Nigerian government in order to secure some additional funding and expand the enterprise.
One thing is certain, the harvesting of bottles from rubbish-strewn roadsides is benefitting the neighborhood and the planet.