News

Post-consumer plastic bottles used to make houses in Nigerian city

City planners in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna are using post-consumer plastic bottles to help solve a housing shortage in Africa's most populous nation.


Print this page

November 11, 2011 by Canadian Plastics

City planners in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna are using post-consumer plastic bottles to help solve a housing shortage in Africa’s most populous nation.

Made of plastic bottles that once littered the city’s roads and gutters, the planners – working with local environmental activists – are nearing completion of a 624-square-foot two-bedroom bungalow prototype house. The structure is made from capped, sand-filled plastic bottles, each weighing nearly two pounds. The bottles are stacked into layers and bonded together by mud and cement, with an intricate network of strings holding each bottle by its neck, providing extra support to the structure.

The project was initiated in June by the Kaduna-based NGO Development Association for Renewable Energies (DARE), with help from foreign experts from Africa Community Trust, a London-based non-governmental organization.

“The structure has the added advantage of being fireproof, bullet proof and earthquake resistant, with the interior maintaining a constant temperature of 18 degrees C (64 degrees F) which is good for tropical climate,” Yahaya Ahmad, the project coordinator, told the international media.

Two rooms stand opposite with a bathroom and a toilet between them. A side door leads to an open courtyard and the kitchen. With the right adjustments to the supporting pillars, Ahmad said, the building can reach a maximum height of three stories before being compromised by the weight of the sand-filled bottles.

“Nigeria has a serious waste and energy problem, and this project is one small step towards making positive changes,” said Katrin Macmillan, a British environmental activist involved in the project. According to environmental experts, Nigeria – a country of approximately 160 million people – throws out about three million plastic bottles daily.

When completed, the house under construction will have cost about US$12,700. A second plastic bottle project is scheduled to begin in January 2012 at a primary school in need of more classrooms in the town of Suleja near Nigeria’s capital Abuja. “The primary school project will take 200,000 bottles out of landfills”, said Macmillan.