They built the first house from plastic bottles

Posted on 19 February 2020.

Two Canadian entrepreneurs have designed a home using 612,000 recycled plastic bottles. Their company, JD Composites, uses this waste to build model ecological housing.

We feel we’re making a modest contribution to addressing some of the current pollution problems

At the beginning of 2018, the world of recycling experienced a minor revolution. China adopted a drastic measure that closed its doors to waste imported from Western countries. A major change for a large number of countries that were used to exporting it - they suddenly found themselves with huge amounts of waste to manage. It was particularly problematic for countries with the lowest recycling rates. For example in Canada less than 10% of plastic products are recycled according to government figures. The solution for the new context? Leveraging innovative solutions to recover the approximately 3 million metric tons of plastic waste the country produces annually.
And that’s exactly what two local entrepreneurs are working on. Since 2015, their company, JD Composites, has been designing houses made out of recycled plastic bottles.
When working on the ecodesign for these dwelling, the company looked at a material already well known to industry for its insulating properties - polyethylene terephthalate (PET) foam made from plastic bottles. JD Composites uses it directly in the design of the walls of its houses! In an Ontario plant, end-of-life plastic bottles are shredded to make pellets which are melted at very high temperatures. The gas-phase chemical reaction produces a foam-like material that is poured into large molds.
Once cooled, the foam hardens in the shape of large lightweight composite panels that are resistant to moisture and mold. The panels are covered with a layer of fiberglass to maximize their impermeability and allow them to be used as insulating building materials. They can then be simply assembled to create the structure of the house.   The first pilot house designed by JD Composites used close to 612,000 recycled bottles. Waste that didn’t go to landfill but found a second life in a new ecodesigned home.
The two Canadian entrepreneurs behind the concept are delighted: "We offer a sustainable solution for building green housing, but in addition we feel we’re making a modest contribution to addressing some of the current pollution problems."
Their project would appear to be all the more promising because the house has successfully weathered some extreme weather events (floods, hurricanes, etc.). A real asset when attracting potential buyers that are directly concerned by the risk of natural disasters.