When I first saw this house made entirely from plastic bottles, I didn’t see shelter . I saw a greenhouse.
A family in Argentina built the house using huge number of plastic bottles, Tetra Packs and CD cases . Originally it started as an artistic project but it eventually became a way to illustrate how much waste is created and to encourage environmental stewardship.
In a post-apocalyptic situation, you’re going to have a lot of empties and no recycling center to deal with them ,so why not recycle them by building a greenhouse? Even with adequate space to farm food, a greenhouse is essential for expanding your growing season and variety of produce.
In Scotland, The Sustainable Communities Initiative has created a easy-to-build greenhouse , using plastic bottles and a simple wooden frame as the building material. They’re easy enough to build that they’re ideal for schools and other community groups.
With lots of children to help gather the bottles and wash them, it’s a great re-use educational structure that really works. A standard construction of 2m x 3m will need around 1400 bottles to be collected and rinsed. The bottoms are cut off by the children with their safety scissors, two tabs are cut on either side near the top by an adult with a craft knife to stop the top bottle sliding down it.
Now it is ready to be placed in the wall. A sturdy frame is built with wires spaced at 30cm intervals up the frame and roof: the wires hold the bottle in place and it is the cross tie wire that binds it into a solid wall, closing most of the gaps. On a sunny day it can easily be 10 degrees hotter inside the plastic bottle greenhouse than outside.The old Byker city farm closed some time ago and the new building (now known as Ouseburn farm) is a great community facility, very much designed from a sustainability point of view. The greenhouse is made from recycled plastic bottle treaded together within a timber frame.
There are free downloadable plans from REAP Scotland here.
Here’s another way to build a greenhouse with recycled materials that could be scavenged fairly easily: