Using Recycled Materials for Eco-friendly Houses

Plastic Bottle Wall Divider Screens

Stacked tires, bottles and old wood may be waste for some, but to others they can be valuable construction materials. Recycled materials can be used in rustic buildings or brilliantly incorporated into stunning modern residences along with new materials. Such materials are sometimes left in their original status of degradation to provide a sense of history or highlight green design and architecture. Other times, they are processed into “new” materials, leaving no trace of their origin.

The following recycled building materials have been rerouted from the trash and transformed into real homes:


Bottles can be used as the main material in recycled homes, often bonded with cement to replace bricks. Both plastic and glass bottles can be used for this purpose.

These types of buildings typically include metal framework made of reclaimed iron. Inside the house, the green and blue light glowing through glass bottles can give a unique charm.

La Casa de Botellas (The Bottle House) is an unusual house located in Buenos Aires, Argentina in which over six million bottles were cemented and turned into a workshop, living quarters and gallery.


Tires are used in ecological homes known as Earthships. These houses are passive solar buildings made of natural and recycled materials, typically rammed earth and tires.

Walls made of tires provide thermal mass and can keep indoor temperatures constant while the outdoor temperature fluctuates. This type of building is ideal in desert climes and provides a low-cost housing option in third-world countries.


In the US alone, 700 million wooden shipping pallets are produced each year, 150 million of which end up in landfill sites. These pallets are made of hardwood and have been proven useful as materials in building the structure of a house. Many modular pallets houses have been successfully constructed around the world.

Pallets can be made into cheap houses which can be developed quickly and can even be turned into permanent houses. A team of four or five people could build a house using 100 pallets and simple hand tools within a week.

Shipping Containers

Shipping containers are compact, stackable and an ideal material for building homes and other structures in a very short period of time. These structures can be adapted to any landscape site, from mountain to the beach. They have low maintenance costs and are extremely durable.

Reclaimed Wood

Timber can be reclaimed from old farm barns, urban factories or warehouses or deconstructed lumber and wood products such as reused planks and siding. This rustic material can be restored and mixed with new wood and other materials or it can be left rough, giving the building a recycled and sustainable appearance.


Source: Design Build Source

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