Monthly Archives: January 2014

Tyre work done!

Another few days have now passed, and we have gotten a lot of stuff done! The 10th course of tyres is in, and we have bolted pins into the top three layers of tyres, and cemented the pins into a bond beam at the top.


As per usual, the bottle bricks are heaping up at a staggering paste.


The next big thing is that we have now put the roofing and post in to the building, and are also building door frames and other details.


Today was also the first day of packing the spaces in the wall with cement and the left over parts of the bottles, which was a lot of fun!





First week of work

It is only the beginning of our second full week and we have already completed 7 full courses of tires, Only 2 more to go, which we expect to finish tomorrow. As we grow upwards, we are also putting a burm on the back and sides of the building to support the building, and also getting us easier access to the tyres for pounding etc.


We have installed the ventilation tubes on the third level of tyres, which will later supply us with ample ventilation through out the two rooms of the building. The tubes are running inside the burial of the building to add to the cooling effect of the burm, and run alongside the water tanks that will be supplied with water from the rain water catchers. The water will then be cycled through out the building with low energy 12V pumps.


We have been working alongside 5 local Cambodian builders, who have already mastered the craft of tire-pounding. They will now be able to use this new and inexpensive technique for themselves and others in the area, as well as teaching it to locals in other provinces.


Amidst the tire-pounding, bottle bricks are being continuous made. We have already removed 5,000 glass bottles from the dump, in addition to the 2,000 collected from local bars and restaurants. We have also received 90 kg of used cardboard paper from local bars and the local landfill, and we expect to receive heaps of used styrofoam as well, to be used as insulation in the roof.


Starting the work

We have now been working on site for five days, and a lot of exiting things have gotten done! To start with, we have collected a huge amount of garbage in the shape of bottles, tyres and cardboard. We’ve set up cutting stations for bottles, and to date we have cut roughly 1500 of them. We’ve also updated our tools to our needs including sledgehammers, pickaxes, hoes, sharpies, measuring tapes, hatchets, levels, and a water level using clear silicon tubing (Used to shoot in levels on the land, and also tyres).

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In our garbage collecting, we have cleaned both ends of Otres Beach, and what is known as Otres Village, and we are now in contact with the village boss, who runs the garbage collection, and he will start sorting the garbage because of our project!  Additionally, all the bottles, styrofoam and cardboard will be brought our way. This is a good first step to a cleaner Cambodia, and we hope we have planted a seed in the minds of people, as a lot of the locals are keen to come and check out what we are doing!

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We have also adressed the potential issue of the building shifting because during rainy season the water level is just a few cm under or even over the land. So we have dug a 50cm trench under where we are putting the tyre wall, and filled it with boulders, that have then been smashed, levelled, and covered in a cement and sand mix. This will serve as a solid base with ample drainage, and we are starting to place and pound the first couple of courses of tyres tomorrow.

The production of bottle bricks continues, and we now have roughly 750 of them, and we will continue to cut, clean, dry and assemble them.

We are now 15 workers on site, including me and the more experienced crew, and our veteran Cambodian crew, with a few more on their way.

Start date and sourcing

As we approach the start date, January 10th, we’ve started to look for and gather the necessary materials.  So far we have received 160 tyres and will be receiving another 200 in a week of various sizes. The tyres cost 0.5 dollars each due to the fact that they are normally turned into garbage cans or sold to Vietnam to be used as road material.


We’ve also ordered 20 trucks (40 kip – cubic meters in Khmer) of the general filling material, which will be a sandy kind of dirt, and we’ll receive more as needed.  Because we are building in a lowland area, we must have it shipped in about 2 km from the inland, where the locals want to get rid of it to lower their land, which gives them a better rice crop: win – win!

Cardboard is being bulked up from local bar suppliers, and will cost 200 riel (5 cents) per kilogram.  We’re putting that into the bottom of the tyres, and it will possibly also be used to insulate the roof between other layers of materials.

Bottles (not recycled in this country) saved and collected from local bars and restaurants are starting to pour into the building site.

Our visitors are amassing! We can now confirm that we will have a visitor from Taos, NM, two other members of Earthship Sweden, another 11 volunteers, and a flock of visitors from around the globe and from within the Kingdom of Cambodia.

As supplies are beginning to pile up the locals look at us with skepticism, but our veteran building staff just looks at it through their own experienced eyes: Where previous “crazy or unheard of” ideas worked out, this can and will too!

We have been contacted by a few media outlets, and hope to get as much coverage of this as possible, spreading the word of this great way of making sustainable homes.