From Brick to Plastic Walls: Mukono Teacher Builds Green Houses with Plastic Bottles

Allan Obbo, the founder of the project says it has demonstrated that littered plastic bottles can be an alternative building material as well cleaning the environment.
Allan Obbo narrating how he came up with the concept of building using littered bottles.

Audio 3

Houses constructed using plastic bottles  have become a center of attraction at Mbalala township in Mukono district.

Allan Obbo, the founder of the project says it has demonstrated that littered plastic bottles can be an alternative building material as well cleaning the environment.

The eye-catching plastic houses are constructed using thousands of plastic bottles filled with soil instead of burnt bricks. 

Obbo, a fine art teacher at Seeta High School says he conceived the idea after attending a patriotism club workshop at the National Leadership Institute Kyankwanzi where President Museveni was one of the speakers.

Obbo says after the workshop, he discovered that protecting the environment is one of the ways one can express the spirit of patriotism.

From Kyankwanzi Obbo embarked on his patriotism dream by constructing a first house for an elderly lady but one of the challenges was the cost of bricks.

He and others birthed the beautiful eco-friendly innovation turning plastic bottles instead of burnt bricks.

The bottles are bonded together using soil or cement to raise walls. Obbo says using plastic bottles can be more effective compared to some conventional building materials such as bricks or cement blocks.  

Obbo has mobilized twenty women to fill soil into bottles ready to be turned into building blocks. He says soil dug from pit latrines can be used to fill the bottles as well as bonding them when raising the walls.

Out of over a million bottles he has managed to set up structures for 18 bedrooms, washrooms and a bar shade using bottles arranged in different designs giving a unique appearance from inside and outside the walls without requiring paint. 

Inside the rooms, Obbo avoids the use of air conditioners to generate air. Apart from a well-arranged garden, Obbo has also ensured planting trees around the entire place.

//Cue in; “People could get…

Cue out…for decoration.”// 

Much as the innovation has been tried elsewhere in the world, Obbo says many architects and building engineers have had a negative attitude towards the innovation saying it requires a lot of time.  

//Cue in; “When I see…

Cue out…cheap and unique.”//

Alex Kausi the site overseer says putting together bottles to raise a strong structure requires supporting it with concrete pillars.

“After filling bottles with either soil or sand, bonding them together requires much of cement but this is a structure that can last for even 200 years. Unlike building using bricks, at various levels constructing using bottles requires giving structures time to dry and then add on layers” Kausi says.

Racheal Kuteesa, Obbo's wife says the project goes beyond looking at environment conservation but also employs a number people especially women.

One of the women involved in bottle filling Biligaliya Nalwadda is grateful for the project saying it saved them from spending time loitering with friends. She says that bottle filling became another lucrative business to them.

“We were trained how to fill bottles and now we have experience in that, they have been used on constructions that have attracted many people to visit”

//Cue in; “Twatandika mpolampola…

Cue out…busobola okuvaamu omugaso.”//