By Yinka Kolawole
A new innovation in technology has been introduced into the Nigerian housing sector in the form of recycling plastic bottles into housing. This is a boost to the plan of providing affordable housing for all by the year 2020.
The innovative system of building with bottles was pioneered by a German named Andreas Froese, who is also the founder of Eco-Tec.
A house was recently constructed from recycled plastic bottles in Kaduna, making it the first state in Nigeria to have such technological display in the housing sector. The house is constructed using earth filled plastic bottle bricks and mud. The three- room structure is so sturdy that it could stand for thousands of years.
The new bottle house has taken away dangerous plastic bottles wastes out of the environment and transformed it to a more useful material. Plastic bottles take hundreds of 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.
Katrim Macmillam launched Nigeria’s bottle recycling programme in December. 2010. This is a progamme where used plastic bottles and their lids are collected from hotels, restaurants, homes and offices, and so far, thousands of bottles, which would have been thrown away are now collected and recycled for the bottle house builds.
According to Yahaya Ahmed, Chief Executive Officer, Development Association for Renewable Energies (DARE), “We set out to build energy-autonomous houses from recycled materials. In order to facilitate the project, Andres Froesse, founder of Eco-Tec Soluciones Ambientales, was sent to Nigeria to train local masons in the bottle building technique”.
Chris Vassilou, the Project Manager, donated the first land for the bottle house build. Features in the bottle house include solar powered with fuel-sufficient clean cookstove, urine filtration fertilization systems and water purification tanks, thereby, making it energy autonomous.
Currently, school children are being trained in the bottle brick-making technique. The newly trained masons will lead the build by January 2012 in the next Nigerian bottle project, which will be a school hall in Suleja, at African School of Excellence which urgently needs classroom space.
Advantages bottles have over bricks and other construction materials include: Low cost; Non-Brittle; Absorbs abrupt shock loads; Bio climatic; Re-usable; Less construction material; Easy to build and; Green Construction.
When you make a clay brick, the time and energy used right from mixing the clay to baking it in the kiln and taking into account the firewood used for that, you will see that the bottle brick is far more energy-efficient. The technology also reduces the carbon emission that happens during the baking of an ordinary brick.
The heat generation from cement factories can also be reduced as this technology uses only five percent cement. The foundation for the entire construction is obtained from building waste and so the mountains from which granite is blasted out can be saved too. PET Bottle can last as long as 300 years – longer than the cement used to bind the bottles together in the walls.