Did you know that plastic bottles last 450 years? That’s how long it takes for a plastic bottle to degrade. So it shouldn’t be a surprise if we can use plastic bottles to build our lasting homes with them.
An Ingenious Engineer
One ingenious engineer did just that. Tateh Lehbib Breica, is no ordinary engineer. Born and raised in a refugee camp in Awserd, Algeria, he grew up to be an engineer with a masters degree in Energy Efficiency. At just 27 years old, he came up with the idea to build homes out of recycled water bottles to survive harsh sandstorms that have previously demolished homes in 2015.
Awserd Refugee Camp
So where is the Awserd Refugee Camp? Who are these refugees? The Awserd Refugee Camp is located in Algeria in an area called Tindouf. The refugees have been in the camp for over 40 years since the breakout of the Western Sahara War between the indigenous Sahrawi population and Morocco. The refugees are indigenous Sahrawis.
Plastic Bottles Stronger Than Bricks
Plastic bottles can, of course, can withstand water, and add its durability factor (450 years!) they make great alternative building materials to bricks. In the past, refugees either live in traditional tents or brick houses, and both have been demolished in extreme weather conditions in the area – heavy rain or sandstorms.
The plastic bottles are first filled with sand and straw, before being stacked up in a circular shape and fortified with cement. Its circular shape is meant to withstand sandstorms.
Killing Two Birds With One Stone: Build Houses And Create Jobs
UNHCR (United Nations Refugee Agency) has recognized Breica’s efforts and great design and has awarded his project under the UNHCR Innovation Fund. So far he has completed 26 projects and is expected to complete more houses in 5 Algerian refugee camps .
Building plastic bottled houses has also created jobs for the refugees. At least 4 people are needed to pick up the bottles, 4 more to fill them with sand, and 4 masons to lift them.
The video below presents Breica’s ingenious paper bottle homes project. Watch it and be inspired!
Don’t throw those plastic bottles out — they could make a great house! (via World Economic Forum)
Posted by Upworthy on Friday, June 9, 2017
Farah Ishak is a Content Writer at Halalop. She grew up in the United Kingdom where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Management. Later, she completed her MBA and held senior-level positions in Malaysian based MNC. She left the corporate world to be with her young kids. She is passionate about issues concerning Muslim women, Startups and Muslim businesses in general.