What do you do with your old toothbrushes and jeans? Most of us would throw them away only to end up in landfill and our oceans. However, at the University of Brighton, they have gathered these materials to build a house. We live in a wasteful society and the majority of products we buy end up being wasted. Everything from food to clothing, plastic packaging and unwanted household items, even though they should be recycled, reused or donated, they still are often just chucked.

In the UK alone the average household produces over a tonne of waste each year, this equates to a total of 31 million tonnes per year across the country. There are methods of reducing household waste, such as donating your unwanted clothes and saying no to plastic water bottles and excessive amounts of plastic packaging on our food, but the University of Brighton have decided to do something a little different. They’ve built a house with it!

The University of Brighton have built an experimental waste house. The waste house has been made out of landfill; everything that we would usually chuck in the bin, they have used to construct a house! The waste house thriftily uses items we would never usually associate with constructing a house. The house features toothbrushes, old DVD’s and even jeans for the insulation.

Architect, Duncan Baker-Brown said: “The message is you don’t have to throw this stuff away. If you look a bit more carefully you will find stuff that previously got discarded that is perfectly legitimate and valuable as a construction material.” Waste materials were collected and creatively used as a construction material. Duvets from the university were reused and became installation along with old fabric donated from clothing firms. The house was build using 20,000 old toothbrushes, 2000 old carpet tiles and 4000 old DVD cases. The kitchen work tops in the waste house are made from old coffee cups and granules which have been compressed into a plastic type material.

Although Architect Duncan Baker-Brown does point out some of the downsides to using the coffee shop waste such as scratching on the surfaces, the waste house continues to experiment with materials that could potentially be used in construction.The university gathered these materials from public donations, waste from shops and cafes and even collected waste chalk and timber from construction sites in Sussex.

The Brighton waste house proves that we don’t need to use boring bricks to build our houses, perhaps the house of the future is made from waste. Duncan Baker-Brown said: “For every five houses we build in the UK, the equivalent of one house of waste materials gets put into landfill.” What makes this waste even more diabolical, is that most of these materials are still perfectly usable.

It has been proven through the waste house project in Brighton that materials which usually end up in landfill can be used in construction. We may not be rushing to build out houses out of old jeans but we certainly should be taking more action against our wasteful lifestyles.

[H/T BBC, Brighton]