Plastic razors, toothbrushes and denim jeans make up this upcycled building.
Landfills around the world are packed with materials that on closer inspection, might not actually be considered waste. To prove this point, Brighton University teamed up with East Sussex studio BBM to create the Waste House, Britain’s first permanent domestic building made almost entirely from trash. Plastic razors, denim jeans, and toothbrushes are just some of the unlikely materials that have gone into the building’s construction.
The house consists of more than 85% trash collected from households and construction sites around the area. Denim jeans, DVD’s and video cassettes, along with 20,000 toothbrushes that were only used once by airline passengers, provide insulation. Some of the more unconventional materials will be monitored to see how efficient they are, and which ones are best suited for future endeavours.
As described on University of Brighton’s website, the designers are keen to demonstrate that “fluffy, crumbly and organic low carbon materials can compete effectively with their more established high-energy, high-carbon counterparts.”
Other more established techniques were employed, including the use of two thousand recycled and weatherproof carpet tiles to clad the exterior facade. Ground-granulated blast-furnace slag was used for the foundation, while 10 tonnes of chalk waste and 10% of clay came together to produce rammed earth walls that are known to have excellent solar heating properties.
The project was also a chance to engage the community, which included City College Brighton and Hove, the Mears Group, as well as students and apprentices who wanted a chance to work on a live sustainable construction project. As stated on their website, this could just be the beginning of interesting new partnerships:
The building will be an innovative place to visit as well as provide a studio for our postgraduate students. We hope it will be the hub from which we will develop new relationships with businesses and the public sector as well as with social and cultural groups that stimulate shared working and shared learning.
Touted as one of the first A* energy-efficient rated sustainable buildings in the UK, the Waste House should help people to see that the things they throw away still have a lot to offer, even if it appears they are nothing more than “waste.”
Images by BBM