Casa De Botellas: Turning Waste into Modular Construction

The Ecological Bottle House was constructed by an innovative family living in Puerto Iguazu, Misiones, Argentina. The building is located a short distance from the Iguazu Falls National Park, just off the main highway.

Dedication: The Ecological Bottle House was created by a family who chose to recycle household materials rather than hauling them off to the local garbage dump. By reusing their own waste and that of their friends and neighbors, the family has demonstrated their commitment to caring for the planet. The entire structure and all of its interior furnishings have been constructed out of plastic bottles, aluminum cans, Tetra Pak boxboard and other recycled goods. A prototype of sustainable development, the project gives us hope for a future with more effective housing solutions.

We are aware that, as most of our waste products are recyclable, we should have treatment plants to process them, yet for whatever reason, such facilities have not been able to keep up with the demands of a growing population. As a result, the mismanagement of waste has become a serious concern, especially in developing countries. Lacking viable alternatives, the trash is often burned; and consequently, dangerous amounts of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming, climate fluctuations and destruction of the planet.

The Ecological Bottle House exemplifies the concept of self sustainability and demonstrates how a bit of creative ingenuity can bring about positive change in the way humans interact with the environment. 

 This project addresses four distinct yet interrelated aspects of the human environment relationship: the ecological, social, cultural and tourism. 


Ecologically, we believe that caring for the planet is a shared responsibility and something that can be achieved given small contributions from each individual. Rather than employing workers to collect our refuse, for example, everyone should learn how to properly reuse and recycle their own waste. Such a system would hold all persons accountable for their interactions with the environment and encourage more environmentally friendly behaviors.

 Because the Ecological Bottle House is located in a region which receives ample rainfall, we stress the importance of not leaving toilets and other discarded items capable of retaining water outside as the standing water creates optimal conditions for the transmission of diseases such as yellow fever. Rather than allowing such items go to waste, however, we suggest finding a practical use for them. Consider transforming an old toilet into a flower pot or passing it along to someone who is able to utilize it in some way. Each day, as trash is burned, toxins are released into the atmosphere,threatening human health and contributing to global warming. Thus, by reusing your junk instead of throwing it away, you will be caring for the planet.



Socially, we provide education to the public about all that we do, free of charge. In particular, we share with interested individuals the one of a kind technique we developed for building the house and all of its furniture. We support those who wish to utilize our method for their own purposes and do not ask for anything in return. Additionally, we encourage entrepreneurs who are interested in manufacturing items using recycled materials. Of course, we are humbled by those who replicate our technique with the goal of improving their quality of life.


The technique that we devised is routinely evaluated and critiqued by ordinary people and construction specialists alike. We value all comments and suggestions and also wish to express our gratitude to the visitors who generously provide us with financial assistance in the form of donations or the purchase of handicrafts. As we are not architects or engineers, such contributions are crucial for the continuance of our mission.


It is possible to construct a normal house using plastic bottles merely as insulation in order to limit the transfer of heat and minimize the amount of noise passing through the walls. This method of construction is an alternative to temporary housing settlements, which are often built out of highly flammable materials including wood and cardboard. Because such structures are located within close proximity to one another, fires are a serious threat and can cause widespread damage and destruction, leaving many homeless. In contrast, plastic bottles, although they will melt in extreme heat, will contain the fire and prevent it from destroying neighbors’ homes. Pouring a small amount of soil, sand or water into the bottles prior to assembly further reduces the risks. This building technique is indeed a viable housing option, particularly in poverty stricken areas.

 Culturally, we are committed to raising awareness about environmental issues, especially among future generations. One of our houses was designed as a portable teaching tool, and it can be assembled and disassembled to demonstrate how trash can be transformed into something useful. Funds collected from the sale of handicrafts and donations from generous individuals enable us to deliver our message to students, teachers and other interested parties. Our family is willing to travel anywhere so long as our hosts are willing to help us cover the costs of transportation, lodging and food. 

As for tourism, The Ecological Bottle House attracts visitors from Argentina and around the world who are in the area visiting the Iguazu Falls. Tourists, who, like us, believe that it is possible to live in harmony with nature, have spread the word about our project and convinced fellow travelers to come and discover, in this one of a kind place, how we can all live in harmony with nature in our big house, Planet Earth.

We depend on financial donations to carry out our mission. If you would like to help us spread awareness, please click on the link below to make a contribution using PayPal. Thank you




If you are interested in supporting this project or helping spread the message about environmental awareness, please contact Alfredo Alberto Santa Cruz and family                            

  Casa Ecologica de Botellas Plasticas 


 slipping_bottles_together--sm.jpg    first_bottle_house---sm.jpg
bottle joint, and daughter's playhouse


tetrapak roofing, from inside and from outside (showing both uncovered & covered)


chair, curtain, decorations from bottles 

The Ecologic House of Bottles is a project that was conceived by a familly of artisans residing in Puerto Iguazu, Misiones, Argentina.  The site can be found a few metres from the road to the Iguazu Waterfalls, and about 15 minutes from them.

By incorporating materials made with solid urban waste, the poject transforms and prevents disposable containers from being burnt or dumped into refuse pits, while creating alternative building materials and a source of income.

 At first, the project focused on creating a variety of decoration and useful objects with glass, plastic, aluminum containers, Tetra Pack containers and PET plastic bottles, all of which were discarted and reused, demonstrating that these residual materials can be transformed into useful elements with a bit of creativity and ingenuity.  These activities not only recycle solid urban waste, but also function as an effective tools for education about environmental degradation and preservation.

Using a newly self-invented casting technology, the development of a variety of elements has been achieved, including the Ecologic House of Bottles and several models of furniture (couch, bed, etc.).

The Ecologic House of Bottles is a prototype of the casting system, and the principal tool used to spread the message of environmental awareness raising in schools and the communities at large where the sample is transported.

This project carried out its awareness raising activities free of charge, with the resources derived from the sale of artisan crafts.  For this reason, the Santa Cruz family requests the asistance of institutions, enterprises or individuals interested in spreading the word and lending support to the proyect through sponsorship, with the goal of achieving the long term sustainability of the project´s activities.

The principal objective of this productive and self-sustaining project is to build an end-model: a house with all comforts and furnishings, using recycled Tetra Packs and PET Plastic Bottle containers.

The house will fulfill the function of being a new tourist attraction in the region, a place where the recycled artesanal products can be comercialized and the marketing of these goods will allow for the necessary economic sustainability needed to continue awareness raising campaings.

The house will have an artesanal solar colector panel which will supply hot water, thanks to the colaboration with the students of the Linea Cuchilla institute in Misiones, Argentina, who have assisted in the creation of bluepirnts and demonstrated in practice how these refuse materials can be used as alternative sources of energy.

The Ecologic House of Bottles project has been declared to be of municipal interest by the honorable Council of the City of Puerto Iguazu, stating that ¨This deals with an undertaking of solid waste classification and recycling, which has the enthusiastic approval of the Ministry of Renewable Natural Resources, Ecololgy and Tourism in the province of Misiones, as well as the support of the Municipality of Apostoles, and the Municipality of 2 de Mayo, in the province of Misiones, Argentina.  This Ecological House of Bottles has awakened admiration and acceptance on the part of these citie's populations, on the occation of it's public presentation.  The Municipality of Puerto Iguazu has also followed these initiatives with interest, expecially when it comes to the proliferation of environmental awareness, which is a major capital that needs preserving.


Technical Information:  

In total, the prototype house has (see photo 1):

- 1200 PET plastic bottles in its walls

- 1300 milk and wine Tetra Pack containers in its roof
- 140 compact disk boxes in its doors and windows
- 120 PET plastic bottles in the couches
- 200 PET plastic bottles in the bed

Pictures [from top to bottom]:
[1] outside view of the house

[2] night-time view of house

[3] 142kg (313lbs) person sitting on the couch

[4] tourists visiting and awareness raising campaigns in schools and municipalities


Las Horquideas Neighbourhood,Block B, Lot 7  

(Barrio Las Horquideas, Manzana B, Lote 7)
 (3370) Puerto Iguazu, Misiones, Argentina


The pictures and text have been provided by Alfredo Alberto Santa Cruz and his family.