How to Build a House Made from PET Plastic Bottles
If you thought building a house or any other construction using plastic bottles as bricks was impossible, think again.
The type of bottles used in this type of construction are called PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) bottles, and are the type considered safe for containing beverages for human consumption.
While I haven't personally constructed anything made from plastic bottles, the basic premise is the same as using bricks, and so if you are a brick-layer, you will find this easy to do.
Plastic bottles are land-fill waste; no-one knew what to do with them. The world has mountains made from plastic bottles which, although lightweight and cheap to buy, are a throwaway from today's consumeristic society.
Till finally, some wonderfully green people decided to try constructing not just houses, but water wells, raised bed gardens, garden sheds - in fact any construction you can think of can be made from plastic bottles.
Third world countries are starting to see the benefits. Plastic bottle houses in hot countries make cool dwellings, that are not only solid, windproof and waterproof, they are bulletproof which is eh.....handy to know.
Did I mention cheap?
They are free! Other people have already used them and tossed them away. All you need to do is set up a collection point in your local village or town, and you will soon get a skip or full of plastic bottles to build with.
The other things you will need is sand, lots of it, perhaps a little cement (depending on climate - the cooler the climate, the most cement needed). A long length of string - the plastic type you see in garden centres. Earth, the more clay-type earth, the better.
Advantages of Using PET plastic bottles over Brick
1. Low cost
2. Non-Brittle - (Unlike bricks)
3. Absorbs abrupt shock loads - Since they are not brittle,there can take up heavy loads without failure.
4. Bio climatic
6. Less construction material
7. Easy to build
8. Green Construction - an average house built as outlined below frees up 12 cubic metres of land-fill.
For each house you plan to build, assuming it has one bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room, you will require approximately 7,800 plastic bottles.
Hotels, bars and restaurants are a good source for large supplies of plastic bottles.
Lots of willing helpers are a must, because each bottle must be hand-filled with sand. This provides weight and durability. The sand must be pushed in so that it is compacted. Experts believe a compacted sand plastic bottle is 20 times stronger than brick! Impressive.
The sand must first be filtered to remove any stones to make filling the bottles possible, as everything has to pass through the narrow neck of the PET bottles.
When filled tightly with sand, replace the lids to prevent any sand leakage.
While you have all the village kids or someone filling the bottles, you must dig out a foundation for your house.
All good constructions need a solid foundation, without which, any building is at risk of falling down like a pack of cards should the earth tremor, or a high wind blow.
Once prepared, fill your foundations with a good quality cement mix. You may wish to call an expert in to complete this part for you.
Now you are ready to build.
First, build your support column and corners.
Lay your sand-filled bottles flat on their sides, and make a tight circle with all the bottles pointing pouring end inwards.
Secure them into position with a sand/cement mix, or mud if your soil is heavy clay.
Place a second layer of bottles immediately above and fill the gaps with mud or a sand/cement mix.
When your plastic bottle construction column has reached the desired height, you then need to bind them all together with string, entwining the string round the base end of the bottle which will be sticking out, and joining each bottle together in a criss-cross pattern.
This is in preparation for the final rendering.
Next, build your walls.
It is normal to have the base end of the bottles sticking out, so line them all on their sides, side by side, in this fashion. Using a spirit level as you go along to ensure they are in line, carefully use cement or mud to hold your bottles in position.
When your wall has reached the required height, then you have to bind all the bottle neck ends together in a cross-cross fashion with string.
When your construction is completed, the plastic bottles walls will be rendered in a cement/sand and water mix and the string will help keep everything in position.
A Living Roof on your PET bottle house
If you want an environmentally friendly house, then the roof can be constructed of sod and turf, which I'm assured is great for insulation. They call this a 'living roof' which I'm personally not so sure about as that would possibly mean having to haul a lawnmower up there to cut the grass after the rains comes.
It certainly sounds as if it could become a very comfortable home for insects. Yuk!
Roof for a PET plastic bottle house
I am tempted to think for aesthetic appearances, a normal tile roof would look best on your PET bottle house, as shown in the picture top right.
While roofs can indeed be constructed from an unlimited range of eco-friendly materials, you will have already saved a fortune in building your plastic bottle house that really using normal materials would not break the bank at this stage.
Plastic bottles walls can weight-bear as much if not more than brick, so you could put steel girders up there up you chose, without problem.
You can also fit normal glass windows, and wooden doors into your PET bottle house.
What I saw that was a nice idea too was to string a lot of bottle tops together and hang them up as door curtains to keep out flies, which is a great theme for your plastic bottle house.
How to Build a Plastic PET Bottle House
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Thanks for the making of this hub got to:
- Inhabitat - Green Design Will Save the World
Eco-Tec capacitación ambiental productiva, soluciones contra el calentamiento global
- BBC News - Nigeria's plastic bottle house
Nigeria's first house built from discarded plastic bottles is proving a tourist attraction in the northern village of Yelwa, writes the BBC's Sam Olukoya.