”Genie in a bottle“ – houses made of PET

September 26, 2012

In many developing countries a huge number of PET bottles pollute the environment as there is no deposit system to recycle all used bottles at once. Usually they are thrown away a million times a year and it would take several hundreds of years until the polyethylene terephthalate is biologically degraded. At the same time, there is often a lack of homes and buildings which are solid and earthquake-resistant.

During a trip through South America, Andreas Froese, a carpenter from Germany who founded the company ECO-TEChttp://www.eco-tec-solutions.com/ in Honduras, took stock of this problem and developed a measure to build houses where PET bottles replaced bricks. Each bottle has to be filled with sand and dirt. Afterwards, the bottles are stacked up and fixed with mud. An old nylon thread which can be found everywhere on dumping grounds is enough to fasten this new brick.  In this way, you can build walls with windows, doors and corners. Covering the entire house with mud, painting the walls and putting a tin roof on top, completes this new PET-home.

Since the bottle bricks are still somewhat flexible inside, the “waste construction“ is very resistant to earthquakes, storms or floods. In addition to houses, the company also developed a technology to build PET water tanks which contain between 1,600 and 24,000 litres of water. The unique construction of bottles, mud and nylon threads even works under these circumstances. ECO-TEC has also taught the inhabitants this technique so that they themselves can build further houses and tanks easily without external help.

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Caroline Weimann
Caroline Weimann

Caroline Weimann is member of the “empowering people. Award” team at the Siemens Stiftung (foundation). She studied International Law, Economics and Diplomacy at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London as well as Languages and Literature at the University of Oxford. Before joining the Siemens Stiftung, she worked on health and development issues at the European Commission and at a consultancy firm for non-profit organizations.


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