• the-house-that-trash-built
    Construction

    The House that Trash Built

    Mahatma Gandhi advised his followers to “be the change you want to see in the world.”  We decided to take Gandhi’s wise words and apply them to our own lives.  We hope our example will inspire others to do the same. The House That Built from Trash We hope this website will inspire you to take matters into your own hands – to live a sustainable lifestyle, eat what you grow, get off the grid and do your part to heal the planet and yourself. We are living at a time where gas and oil reserves are beyond peak… when our very way of life has an immense adverse effect on…

  • permits
    Construction

    Permits

    People often ask us whether it is possible or necessary to get a permit for an alternative building project like ours. The answer is, it depends! We did apply for a permit and actually received one… although we did not mention tires or papercrete. On the application, we said we have a mobile home (we do) and said we wanted to build a metal roof over the top and add two, 6 feet X 55 feet covered additions, supported by ten 4 foot X 4 foot posts, along the sides (which we did). In reality, we probably did not need to have a permit in the first place since no…

  • halliburton
    Journal,  Recycle Blog

    No Fracking Way!

    Last night, Elisia and I attended a meeting of the West Virginia Legislature’s Select Committee on Marcellus Shale, which was held in the Robert C. Byrd auditorium in Clarksburg, WV.  This was the 3rd and last meeting for the Committee members to hear from their constituents before writing rules that will (hopefully) better regulate this controversial “new” mining technique. Since you are reading this blog on BuiltFromTrash.com, you already know we moved to West Virginia and bought this land to live our dream.  We found a magic slice of ‘almost heaven’, then, with plenty of sweat, tears and literal blood, we built a house using recycled construction materials.  We planted…

  • how-to-cut-a-tire
    Recycle Blog

    How To Cut & Pack a Tire

    It is nearly impossible to fill a tire without cutting out the top wall. If you don’t, it takes twice the time and effort, and when the clay dirt settles, there is always a small gap remaining. By cutting away the top, you can fill the tire with dirt and tamp it in using a standard concrete tamper. This makes for a really solid and awesome foundation. Cutting out the side wall of the tire is easier than most people think. If you use the saw to cut a hole and start in the soft part of the tire just below the steel belt, it only takes about a minute…

  • reduce-carbon-footprint
    Environment

    Reduce your Carbon Footprint

    Here are a few simple things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint Change to Fluorescent Bulbs – If every house in the United States changed all of the light bulbs in their house, that would be equivalent to taking one million cars off the streets. Hang Outside to Dry – Get a clothes line or rack to dry your cloths. Your clothes will last longer and you will save money Use Both Sides of Paper – if you have a printer with a double sided print option use it. You will save half of the amount of paper you would have normally used. Get rid of baths – Do not take baths,…

  • solar-powered-clothes-dryer
    Alternative Energy,  Environment

    Hanging Out to Dry

    Today I decided to do something to change the world. I built a solar clothes dryer. It wasn’t my first, and it only took about an hour to put it up. One thing is for certain, it’ll save money and won’t foul up the air and water. Here are step-by-step instructions for how you, too can build a solar clothes dryer: 1. Choose two parallel points about 15 feet apart in a sunny part of your yard. Try to pick a spot that is relatively flat. 2. Using a post hole digger, dig a 3′ hole at each point. Set two, 10 foot posts at each point (use a level…

  • dufflaurel
    Recycle Blog

    Get Off Your Duff & Don’t Rest on Your Laurels

    This the story of Duff & Laurel*, a rather apathetic and passive couple who slog through life unenthusiastically. As a young woman, Laurel had been involved in a community action group which was organized to get a smoking ban enacted in her home town.  After the town council passed the anti-smoking ordinance, Laurel felt contented and satisfied that she’d accomplished something important. Unlike Laurel, Duff has never been involved in any activism and has no desire to do so in the future. Because they are both so passive, it is a miracle that Duff & Laurel ever got together in the first place.  But, as luck would have it, they…

  • fall-leaves-frame-the-roadway
    Journal

    Finding our Magic Land

    We had just finished our 2nd cross-country bicycle ride (from San Francisco to New York City) in August when the Realtor called to say he found a buyer for our cottage in Fort Erie Canada.  The bad news was that  the buyers wanted to expedite the closing and we were stranded on Stanton Island — in a broken down vehicle — hundreds of miles from home.   We bought the Canada cottage a few years earlier and tried living the snow-bird lifestyle, residing in Florida over the winter and Canada in the Summer.  But what we really missed were the seasons and therefore wanted to relocate to a place we…

  • Journal

    Trained at the Carpentry School of Hard Knocks

    I started building things when I was in my mid-twenties. I tried my hand at making molds, stained glass windows and model houses. I also decorated my home with crazy things like curved walls and vertical shutters made out of 4 inch floor molding in a living room that was surrounded by floor to ceiling windows. This was before vertical blinds were invented. I started doing my own repairs after paying a fortune to a series of repairmen who either did inadequate or incomplete jobs on various projects in my house. This was my first house, which I now call ‘carpentry school’. It was an emotional buy – I liked…

  • before-the-built
    Journal

    Before the Build

    It’s mid-August, hot and humid, with record temperatures in the upper 90’s. We’ve been terracing the hillside, digging out for the waterfall and filling the retaining wall tires. Hoping to stay a little cooler, today, we decided to take a break from digging and write bit about the house building. We bought this land in the fall of 2004, a 6 acre pie-shaped, wooded parcel on the side of a mountain. Since there wasn’t even a driveway onto the land, we decided to go back to Florida and stay that first winter, near the grandkids. Before we left we were able to contact a local guy who owned a backhoe…

  • quote-by-martin-luther
    Recycle Blog

    A Realistic Cost-Benefit Analysis of Natural Resource Extraction in WV

    As a citizen of West Virginia, I want our state to have a vibrant economy so that every person living here is able to provide for their families. Equally important to me is the ability to breathe clean air and drink safe water, for what is the point of making money if you destroy the very essence of life? In the rush to take advantage of the so-called Marcellus shale economic boom, WV lawmakers must weigh the value of a short term boost to the economy against the long lasting contaminatio to our air and water supply. There is a test to determine whether a WV lawmaker is sincere in…