All over the world, people are coming to grips with two distinct problems:  what to do with over an entire century’s worth of  trash, and how how to house the world’s growing population.  Not to mention how to continue building and developing a new century without further exacerbating the whole trash problem.  Fortunately, there have been a few forward-thinking types who have looked at the whole picture and have used one problem to solve the other.

Bottle houses use our discarded beer, water and wine bottles as construction materials.  And some of them are downright beautiful.

Earthship Houses

Earthship houses are designed to be completely self-sufficient:  electricity, sewage, water and heating and cooling systems are part of the infrastructure of the house.  Outside utilities are not needed, so fossil fuels are not consumed by the residents of the houses.  Even the production of food is taken into account in the design of Earthship houses.

And one of the main building materials in these houses are bottles.  In Haiti, Earthship Biotecture volunteers are using bottles and old tires to build houses for earthquake victims.  Here are few pictures of Earthship houses in New Mexico.

Buddhist Bottle Temple Complex

Four hundred miles north of Bangkok is the Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew temple.  This  Buddhist temple was constructed out of over a million recycled beer bottles.  The green ones are Heinekens and the brown are a Chinese brand called Chang.  And it was apparently built by the monks who live there, as a symbol of renewal and and good stewardship of our resources.  And it’s not just one building…there are twenty.  All built of beer bottles.

Taipei EcoARK

This one is a bit of a cheat, because even though it’s made with 1.5 million plastic bottles, they aren’t regular plastic bottles.  They’re POLLI-Bricks, and they’re a lot like Legos in that this structure can be disassembled and reassembled in a different shape at a different spot.  The Taipei EcoARK was created for a Taipei exposition, and its builders say the bottles will withstand earthquakes, typhoons and hurricanes.

La Casa de Botellas

One Argentinian family has taken it upon themselves to set the example for the rest of us.  They built their house, furniture and a playhouse for their daughter out of thousands of plastic bottles.  ’La Casa de Botellas’ translates to ‘The Ecological Bottle House’ and was specifically created to show what can be done with trash.  And it turned out pretty amazing.