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Forget the Recycling Bin: These Bottles Were Turned Into Homes Forget the Recycling Bin: These Bottles Were Turned Into Homes

Forget the Recycling Bin: These Bottles Were Turned Into Homes

by Adele Peters

February 18, 2013

In Bolivia, nearly 40 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, often in homes that are simple, one-room dirt shacks. There aren't many options for well-designed, low-income housing. Ingrid Vaca Diez came up with an interesting solution to the problem: turning the ubiquitous plastic bottle from trash into a cheap building material. 

By filling the bottles—one of the few materials available abundantly—with dirt and sand, Vaca Diez can create a sturdy alternative to bricks. So far, the self-taught designer has built ten homes. The families she works with are often rural, indigenous migrants, and she chooses projects based on how urgent the family's need is. 

Plastic bottles probably aren't the ideal long-term solution; there are better ways to deliver drinks, and better building materials. But it's the perfect example of creatively using the materials at hand.

Watch this video from Al Jazeera for more on Vaca Diez's work.

Images courtesy of Ingrid Vaca Diez

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