Houses Built By Using Recycled Bottles!

By Niyati Shinde on Oct 01, 2015
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As a saying goes, 'One person’s trash is another person’s treasure'.

Ingrid Vaca Diez has been proving this correct since the past 7-8 years! He have houses built by using recycled bottles!

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Striving to build ‘ecological houses’ for the poorest families of Latin America, Ingrid has started a project called Casas de Botellas (Bottle Houses). Her houses are made of an amalgamation of glass and plastic bottles mixed with honey, sand, all sorts of items found in garbage, linseed oil and milk!

Picture this- living in a house built of glass and plastic bottles, dirt, livestock blood, cement, sand, lime, flour, organic waste, auto tires, glucose and water! The Casas de Botellas is a group effort. Under this project, the poorest families learn to construct their own houses, with the help of their friends, relatives, volunteer workers and neighbours. As Ingrid puts it, "They give themselves and their families a decent place to live".

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The process of building the house is pretty simple. Bottles (glass as well as plastic) are stuck together with bricks, lime and cement. The structure is then held together with a special kind of webbing. This is done to ensure that the construction stays fixed and permanent. The standard formula is to use approximately 81 bottles for each meter. These bottles are filled with rubbish such as paper, sand, plastic bags, batteries and dirt. As the news of the project and the cause spread, companies, institutions as well as individuals started coming forward and began donating building materials such as roofing tiles, bricks, glass, gravel, ceramic tiles and even furniture.

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The inspiration behind the house came from a little girl called Claudia.  Ingrid Vaca Diez was approached by Claudia with a project where she wanted a bedroom of her own built as a Christmas present! Ingrid says, "Before that, I used the bottles I stored in my house for making handicrafts and chairs, but I never thought I’d do anything this great with them. It was when my husband threatened to throw them out and the same afternoon I listened to Claudia that I lost my head and said this will definitely be a house!"  The house that Ingrid built, with the help of Claudia’s family and people of the community, went from 4 square metres to 170 square meters! And, it was built using approximately 36,000 plastic bottles!

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The Casas de Botellas project has built 6 homes in Bolivia, 2 in Uruguay and 1 in Argentina up till now. There are plans of building one in Mexico soon along with twenty more in Argentina.

"Each house represents a dream and wins more than a few smiles, which is my greatest satisfaction” says Ingrid Vaca Diez.

The next time you take out your trash, think, is it really trash? Or can it be recycled to benefit someone?


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