By Mary DeZarn and Tina Williams; Photos by Angela Esler-Whelan
Anything from glass to grass
Houses can be made out of a lot of different items, even things we toss in the trash every day like cans, bottles, and magazines. Instead of throwing these things into the local landfill, the material that’s still useable can be reclaimed for building homes. You could literally go to the dump and salvage yourself parts and pieces for a “new to you” home. Sometimes recycled houses are built to make a statement about the trash we could be using, (or reusing) for a better purpose. Recycled houses, such as the glass bottle houses in Tonopah or Rhyolite, Nevada are examples of building your home out of what’s readily available. During the early 1900’s settlers to the region couldn’t get traditional building material out in the desert. They chose their building material from the over abundance of bottles at the local saloon. Today’s recycled houses are made out of a variety of materials including stuff you’ll find hard to believe!
Here, there and everywhere
Amazing recycled houses are located everywhere in the world. From the bottle houses of Simi Valley and Death Valley California, to the house made entirely of reclaimed window panes in Copenhagen, Denmark. While trying to locate the most unique of the reclaimed houses, we came across many astounding buildings. Some inventive recyclers use shipping containers to create high-rise buildings, others have made grain silos or wood pallets into great looking houses. One of the most remarkable houses we came across is the house in Costa Rica South America made from a reclaimed 727 Boeing jet body.
Build this, not that
If you decide recycled materials are what you’ll make your home out of, look for local businesses that actually use salvaged materials from demolitions or renovations like Habitat for Humanity. In our community there are many people, places, and businesses that can help you find what you need to make your home greener or even build it “recycled” right from the beginning. The Springs Preserve has a recycling education gallery that shows you unique ways to repurpose many items that can be used to build a “green” home. Imagine your hardwood flooring made out of repurposed sunflower seeds! When you take the time to really look at what others have done to reclaim, re-use and move- in, whether its bottles or cans, paper or plastic you can likely find the inspiration to build a spectacular, one-of-a-kind home for yourself.