Is it Possible to Build a Home Using Recyclables?

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Home Improvement

Are you curious about which items from your recycling bin can be used in home building? Read on to find out!

If you’re interested in living in a house made of glass bottles, go ahead and start stacking them up! This has been done many times before.

After the devastating earthquake in Haiti, one architect created a system to build walls out of plastic bottles bonded by concrete and reinforced with recycled materials. However, bottle houses are generally rare experiments that are off-the-grid.

Green homebuilders have reported that high-end customers are commissioning custom homes that contain a higher percentage of recycled products than homes built using conventional materials. For example, in the Bentley home in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, the walls are insulated with cellulose, a recycled material. The carpet is made from recycled plastic bottles, and the floor tile is made from recycled car windshields.

Other recycled materials, such as steel, are also becoming more popular in home building. A house frame made from recycled steel requires no more than the material that comes from six scrapped cars. Composite lumber made from recycled wood and plastic is also an option, especially for decks and outdoor living spaces.

While recycled materials are becoming more available to builders, it’s usually the buyers that drive the major initiatives to use them. With more and more people becoming environmentally conscious, these products are becoming more prevalent. Before long, there may be more houses like the Bentley home right in your own neighborhood.

It’s possible to go off the grid, make partnerships with builders who specialize in adobe and straw-bale construction, and reduce the percentage of virgin materials in your dwelling. However, even for the most minimalist of homes, whether it’s in the heating or in the wiring, it’s necessary to include a manufactured material somewhere.

For more information on green building, check out the links in the next section.


More Information

Related Articles

  • How Green Building Works
  • Can you build a house with found objects?
  • Is what we’re recycling actually getting recycled?
  • 10 Eco-friendly Home Construction Options for Any Budget
  • 10 Tips for a Cutting-edge Green Home


  • Alvarado, Paula. “Lawyer Turned Architect Builds Recycled Homes for People in Need, Will Travel to Haiti.” March 24, 2010. (Jan. 30, 2011)
  • NAHB Research Center. “TechPractices: Bentley Residence, Steamboat Springs, CO.” (Jan. 30, 2011)
  • Steel Recycling Institute. “Steel: The Clear Cut Alternative for Building Homes.” 2010. (Jan. 27, 2011)


1. What are recyclables?

Recyclables are materials that can be processed and reused to create new products. These materials include glass, paper, plastic, metal, and textiles.

2. Can recyclables be used to build a home?

Yes, recyclables can be used to build a home. Recycled materials like steel, glass, and plastic can be used in construction to create a sustainable and eco-friendly building.

3. What are the benefits of using recyclables in home construction?

Using recyclables in home construction can reduce waste, save energy, and lower the carbon footprint of the building. It can also create a unique and modern design aesthetic.

4. What are some examples of homes built with recyclables?

Some examples of homes built with recyclables include the Bottle House in Nevada, USA, which is made entirely of glass bottles, and the Earthship homes in New Mexico, USA, which are made from recycled tires, cans, and bottles.

5. How can I incorporate recyclables into my home construction project?

You can incorporate recyclables into your home construction project by using materials like recycled steel, glass, and plastic. You can also use reclaimed wood for flooring and furniture, and install energy-efficient appliances and lighting.

6. Is it more expensive to build a home with recyclables?

Building a home with recyclables can be more expensive upfront, but it can save money in the long run by reducing energy costs and creating a more durable and sustainable building.

7. How do I find a contractor who specializes in building with recyclables?

You can find a contractor who specializes in building with recyclables by searching online or contacting local green building organizations. You can also ask for referrals from friends or family who have built eco-friendly homes.

8. What are some challenges of building with recyclables?

Some challenges of building with recyclables include finding suitable materials, ensuring structural integrity, and meeting building codes and regulations.

9. Can a home built with recyclables be as durable as a traditional home?

Yes, a home built with recyclables can be just as durable as a traditional home. Recycled materials like steel and glass can be stronger and more resistant to weather and pests.

10. How does building with recyclables benefit the environment?

Building with recyclables benefits the environment by reducing waste, conserving natural resources, and lowering carbon emissions. It also promotes sustainability and encourages others to adopt eco-friendly practices.

11. Are there any tax incentives for building with recyclables?

Yes, there are tax incentives available for building with recyclables. In the United States, homeowners can receive tax credits for installing energy-efficient systems and using green building materials.

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