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Innovative sustainable homes in Nigeria empowering residents and recycling resources

We love a feel-good story, especially when it’s about individuals taking action on climate change

As the Nigerian housing crisis worsens, locals have been adapting traditional building techniques to a new material: plastic bottles. These residents are helping to reuse some of the massive amount of plastic that would otherwise end up in landfill (or the ocean).

We've seen some incredibly creative uses of recycled plastic, from sculptures to running shoes, but these homes are really something else!

By filling the bottles with sand, then binding them together with mud and cement, strong, solid walls are formed. They can be used to make homes up to three stories, using over 14,000 bottles! With over three million such bottles thrown away every day in Nigeria (and 130 million per day in the U.S.), there is an abundance of building material available for these thrifty builders.

According to True Activist, "These colourful homes are bulletproof, fireproof, and can withstand earthquakes. They also maintain a comfortable temperature, produce zero carbon emissions, and are powered by solar and methane gas from recycled waste".

The houses form part of a joint project by The Developmental Association for Renewable Energies (DARE) and London-based NGO Africa Community Trust. The project has been heralded as a massive win for both social and environmental sustainability, addressing both homelessness and sustainability.

With plastic turning into homes, fewer tonnes of waste will be doomed to sit in landfill, where it fails to biodegrade. In addition, the incorporation of solar panels and methane recycling systems means that the houses will be essentially carbon neutral.

Read more about sustainable building materials here

We hope that inspirational projects such as these will encourage designers and builders all over the world to look at recycled materials as a beneficial choice for housing, especially when addressing homelessness and refugee crises.

Images: Andreas Froese/ECOTEC

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