Free enamel pin when you buy any two Atlas Obscura products. Shop now.

Puerto Iguazú, Argentina

Ecological Plastic Bottle House

One family's mission to exemplify sustainability took on a whole new life as a surprisingly beautiful home. 

In Puerto Iguazu there is a house made entirely of garbage. It was built by a family of craftsmen to exemplify the concept of ingenious self-sustainability.

Alfredo Santa Cruz and his family built the bottle house out of trash and recyclables they collected. Aluminum cans, glass jars, CDs, cardboard cartons, and of course, plastic bottles were all used as construction materials. The house has multiple rooms, and even furniture constructed from all these items.

Despite the fact that it’s made from trash, the house is surprisingly beautiful. Sunlight is diluted through the green, brown, and clear bottles, casting mottled shadows on the ground.

The house demonstrates how humans can interrupt their pattern of negative environmental impact. Objects one would usually discard might have a second life as a flower pot, or as a beaded shower curtain. The Santa Cruzes have partnered with the city and with local schools for further ecological improvements to the house, such as a solar water heating system and a self-sustaining agriculture project. 

The bottle house is open for tours led by the architects themselves. They also create and sell souvenirs made from recycled materials. The main purpose of the house and tour is not to demonstrate the ingenuity of the project itself, but to promote the importance of reducing waste and preserving the environment. 

Contributed by
tr8lina
Edited by