Finally, there is an innovative solution for all of the waste from plastic bottles that is overwhelming our landfills and littering our streams. In a very non-traditional approach to building, the people of Yelwa, Nigeria have completed their first “bottle brick” masterpiece. Composed of close to 8,000 plastic drinking bottles, these innovative structures could provide shelter for the many, many people in need while reducing excessive waste. Since most water is unfit for human consumption in Nigeria, plastic water bottles are plentiful and inexpensive.
The process of building a “bottle brick” house begins by laying a concrete foundation, ensuring a strong structure. The building is then constructed by filling plastic bottles with sand, creating the building blocks which are stacked and shaped into the round walls typically found in this region. This initial brick-making process has begun to employ Nigerian children who fill, then sell the bottles, creating a much needed income for their families. The compressed sand inside the bottle creates a material that has been claimed to be up to 20 times stronger than traditional brick and plans are already in the works for a 3-story building and a school structure. In this unstable part of the world, another benefit is that these buildings are literally bullet-proof. No big bad wolf gonna blow this puppy down.