Inspiration leads to plastic block houses

Harvey Lacey has a plan. Inspired by a workshop given by Kenyan architect Ronald Omyonga on holistic housing, Lacey has developed a machine for creating plastic blocks out of plastic bags, styrofoam, bottles, and whatever plastic trash people are trying to throw away. These plastic blocks can then be use to build houses.

The process involves taking bags full of styrofoam, plastic bottles, and other trash bags--and pressing them into blocks. The bags are loaded into a machine and then a wheel is turned to compress the contents.

The blocks can then be used to build a house. For the small house that appears (in the video below), he used 1 truckload of trash plastic, along with $125 worth of rebar and another $120 worth of wire. The house has walls that are 8 1/2 inches thick in styrofoam.

Although Lacey doesn't have any formal training in construction, he gained his confidence when Omyonga spoke at the workshop about how 'There are informally trained voices out there with outrageous schemes who have credibility and we need to recognize them.' Lacey related immediately to this.

He is confident that with this machine, someone could get a microloan and become 'an entreprenuer in the slums of Nairobi.' Lacey explains: 'They could buy trash plastics which are everywhere from people who collect it and then they would make a product and sell it to contractors to build houses... with the end goal to be that the people who who are out picking up the trash plastics would someday be able to afford one of those.'

For more information on this project, visit Lacey's website, Recycled Plastic Box Houses.