Here’s what the United States can learn from Nigeria’s plastic bottle homes


According to the UN there are over 100 million homeless people all over the world. In the United States of America for instance, there are approximately over 3.4 million homeless people. But while the housing crisis  persists, the people of northern Nigeria have devised a way to address it by building eco-friendly homes with mud and plastic bottles.

The United States discards 129.6 million plastic bottles per day, approximated 47.3 billion plastic bottles a year sufficient to build 9,257 houses. But as opposed to discarding these bottles here’s what they can try thanks to Nigerians.

The availability of plastic everywhere has made it easier for people to use these by-products for something productive. This creative community in Norther Nigeria has managed to build eco-friendly homes out of mud and plastic bottles, which are powered by solar panels and methane gas from recycled human and animal waste.

Credit: Andreas Froese/ECOTEC

The initiative founded by a Kaduna based NGO, Development Association for Renewable Energies (DARE), with the help from London based NGO, Africa Community Trust, has provided an eco friendly solution to the housing crisis in the region.

Credit: Andreas Froese/ECOTEC

Currently, Nigeria has a housing deficit of about 16 million. Lagos accounts for 30 percent of this deficit and more than 14 percent of Nigerians are homeless. The plastic bottle homes cost one-third of what a similar house made of concrete and bricks would cost.

To build a two bedroom bottle house, workers are required to fill 14,000 plastic bottles with sand and hold them together using cement and mud. The combination of cement with mud forms a solid wall which is stronger than the commonly used cinder blocks. The compacted sand, which is poured into the bottles is also 20 times stronger than brick.

After construction with different recycled bottles, these homes become colourful, fire proof, bullet proof, and earthquake resistant plastic residences and maintain an interior temperature of about 64 degrees Fahrenheit all year round, which ideally suits Nigeria’s hot climate.

Credit: Andreas Froese/ECOTEC

However, these plastic homes cannot be built higher than three stories due to the weight of the sand –filled bottles used in constructing them.

Here are other intelligent things plastic bottles can be recycled to produce aside building homes.

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