Katrin Macmillan was on my Climate Change radio show Green Angle on Aso 93.5fm, a few months back to discuss indoor air pollution and efficient wood stove as alternative. She also told my audience and I about recycling and Nigeria‘s first bottle house, constructed from recycled plastic bottles in Kaduna State.Thought to also share this innovation on the blog.The house has been built using earth-filled plastic bottle ‘bricks’ and mud. The three-room structure is so sturdy that it could stand for thousands of years.
Plastic bottles take hundreds years to biodegrade in landfill. In Nigeria millions of plastic bottles are dumped into waterways and landfill each year causing pollution, erosion, irrigation blockages and health problems.Bottle houses take this dangerous waste out of the environment and make it useful.
Katrin Macmillan launched Nigeria’s bottle recycling programme in December 2010. Used plastic bottles and their lids are now being collected from hotels, restaurants, homes and embassies and, so far, thousands of bottles have been collected for the bottle house builds.
Yahaya Ahmed, CEO of Development Association for Renewable Energies (DARE), set out to build energy-autonomous houses from recycled materials. DARE have brought Andres Froesse, founder of Eco-Tec Soluciones Ambientales, to Nigeria to train local masons in the bottle building technique. Land for Nigeria’s first bottle building was donated to the project by engineer Chris Vassilou. The bottle house will be solar powered, with a fuel-efficient clean cookstove, urine filtration fertilisation systems and water purification tanks, thereby making it energy autonomous.
The next Nigerian bottle building project is a school hall in Seluja at the Africa School of Excellence, which urgently needs classroom space. The school children are being trained in the bottle brick making technique and the newly trained masons will lead the build in January 2012.
A similar project was undertaken in Guatemala. Former Peace Corp volunteer Laura Kutner, behind the Guatemala “Trash to Treasure” project told Bruce Gellerman of Living on Earth, Boston, about the project which she refereed to as a win-win as villages are cleaner and children are getting new schools. Here is a link to Living on Earth’s “Trash to Treasure” feature http://www.loe.org/shows/segments.html?programID=11-P13-00006&segmentID=6
“Nigeria has a serious waste and energy problem and this project is one small step towards making positive changes. This project can be easily replicated and is a wonderful way to enable Nigeria to recycle in a creative and practical way. Following on from this first Nigerian bottle house the children at the African School of Excellence in Seluja have started making the bottle ‘bricks’ for their new school hall and students will be involved throughout the build. The school hall will take 200,000 bottles out of landfill and into education.” – Katrin Macmillan
Bottles were donated by
Photos by Katrin Macmillan and Center for Water and Environment Development (CWED).
Got lots of bottles to donate? Email: [email protected]