Houses of Bottles: A Green Way to Fight Poverty

An ingenious, eco-friendly campaign is spreading throughout Latin America to give to those in need. Casas de Botellas, or Houses of Bottles, is a project that constructs houses for the poor out of recycled materials.

Created in 2003 by a woman named Ingrid Vaca Diez in her native Bolivia, the project brings the families in need of housing to work alongside friends, relatives and volunteers. The houses are made of a mixture of glass and plastic bottles, dirt, livestock blood, cement, lime, sand, batteries, flour and water paste, feces, organic waste, auto tires and glucose. The families also participate in planting grass, tress and flowers to create their own gardens.

The Latin American Herald Tribune reports that the idea occurred to Vaca Diez when a young girl named Claudia, who shared a bed with five other people, asked for her own bedroom as a Christmas present.

“Before that I used the bottles I stored in my house for making handicrafts and chairs, but I never thought I’d do anything this great with them. It was when my husband threatened to throw them out and the same afternoon I listened to Claudia that I lost my head and said, this will definitely be a house.”

With the help of Claudia’s family and friends, 36,000 two-liter plastic bottles mixed with other materials became a new house for Claudia and the start of a campaign that has now crossed borders. Casas de Botellas has become successful enough to spread to Argentina and Uruguay, with future projects in the works for Mexico.

To give you an idea of the process, check out the slideshow of one eco-friendly housing project.

Dreamstime

125 comments

Colin Hope
Colin Hope6 years ago

Noted!!

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Allison S.
Allison S7 years ago

A great way to recycle all those bottles indeed. Not meaning to put a damper of such creative work but - how well would it stand up to an earthquake or a hurricane?

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gerlinde p.
gerlinde p7 years ago

incredible idea, applause for everyone involved.

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Andrea M.
Andrea M7 years ago

Just amazing! Thanks for sharing!

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Duane Browning
Duane Browning7 years ago

Considering how plastic bottles cover beaches all over the developing countries and float in a huge pile in the Northern Pacific, there is no shortage of material to build houses for the poor in the developing countries. No excuses, at all. Now, we just need the collective will to get started.

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Elaine N.
Elaine N7 years ago

What an amazing thing to see. Well done to everyone involved in the project.

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Jane H.
Jane H7 years ago

FANTASTIC! Fabuloso!!

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Marianne Good
Past Member 7 years ago

Thank you for sharing

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Kathy T.
Kathy T7 years ago

This is a kind and generous project good to read about it.

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Ann O.
Ann O.7 years ago

It is always great to see people figuring out how to help themselves. What is not to love about this project? It gets people solving their own problems with their own resources and makes positive reuse of the earth's resources.

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