Our mothers always told us to recycle, but some people go way beyond the blue bin. That’s right: you can live in a house that is completely built of recycled and reclaimed materials. Environmentalists, artists, and even average Joes with some time on their hands have been known to build homes out of junk, discarded building materials, or even bottles and cans. Sure, sometimes they end up looking like crazed art projects, but sometimes they end up looking pretty darn nice. Click through to check out our gallery of recycled homes, and let us know if you’d ever want to live in one of these in the comments!
The Scrap House, built for World Environment Day 2005 by a group of San Francisco architects, artists, contractors, city officials, and engineers using only scrap and salvaged materials. Photo by Cesar Rubio Photography via Scrap House.
Dan Phillips builds gorgeous low-income houses almost completely out of salvaged materials, from picture frames to disused wood to license plates. “You can’t defy the laws of physics or building codes,” he told the New York Times, “but beyond that, the possibilities are endless.” Photo by Michael Stravato for The New York Times .
The Beer Can House, built by John Milkovisch, a retired upholsterer for the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1968. Smells like beer and is open to visitors. Photo by Peter Mier via Flickr.
One of three bottle houses built by Édouard T. Arsenault in Prince Edward Island, Canada out of 25,000 recycled bottles. Photo by Keith Watson via Flickr.
The “Junk Castle” in Washington State was built completely out of salvaged materials, costing its owner, high school teacher and artist Victor Moore who built the place for his 1970 MFA thesis assemblage sculpture, only $500. Photos by David Patterson via Inhabitat.
Constructed from thousands of PET plastic bottles, Casa Ecologica de Botellas Plasticas (or La Casa de Botellas) is “a tool for promoting ecological and social responsibility” that you can also live in. Created by the Alfredo Santa Cruz family in Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, there’s even a matching bottle playhouse in the backyard. Photos via Shelterpop.
This house in Woodland, Utah was built from two repurposed grain silos. The inside is surprisingly modern and gorgeous. Photo courtesy Gigaplex Architects.
When Bodan Litnianski moved from the Ukraine to France in 1930, he moved into a ruined house and began to restore it with very unconventional materials — shells, glass, toys, whatever he could find. When the house was covered, he kept going, building a wild jardin du coquillage on his small plot of land. Photo via Outsider Environments.
See how beautiful recycling can be? Villa Welpeloo in Enschede, the Netherlands was created by architects Jan Jongert and Jeroen Bergsma of 2012Architects, who scoured the area for scrap and discarded materials before starting work on the house — the steel framework came from abandoned machinery from a local textile mill, the facade built from the wood from cable reels. Photo by Mark Seleen via Dwell.