It’s definitely true that recycling makes a difference. Soda cans, soup cans, glass containers, plastic bottles: anything biodegradable can be reused and repurposed, and, of course, the practice of recycling is incredibly beneficial for the environment, just as most of us have been told since elementary school.
Developing countries like Nigeria are adopting the “bottle wall technique” via the German company Ecotec Environmental Solutions. Sam Olukoya of BBC News reports, “The bottles, packed with sand, are placed on their side, one on top of the other, and bound together with mud.” When the homes are finished they have one bedroom, a toilet, a kitchen and a living room and are about a quarter of the cost of a conventional home.
A great advantage to using compacted sand in this construction is that it is about 20 times stronger than bricks, it is better insulated to accommodate the Nigerian climate and the strength thereof makes it bulletproof. Also, none of the material is flammable.
An ever-increasing number of communities have adopted the bottle wall technique for places of business, greenhouses, churches and shelters. Ecotec takes on projects like these with strong social focuses. They educate the handicapped and unemployed in construction work in a healthy and accepting environment.
Ecotec’s Sky Field House is famous for having the first vaulted ceiling to be entirely composed of plastic bottles. “Most of the [plastic] bottles used are recovered in clean-up campaigns and recycling drives. The community then fills them with sand [and] they build water tanks, schools, community centers [and] urban benches as well as homes.”
– Anna Brailow