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Recyclable Homes

Composite Panels from Loofah and Corn Husks

— December 4, 2008 — Eco
Elsa Zaldívar originally set out to create a viable housing solution for the impoverished in rural Paraguay, but her recyclable housing composite panels made from loofah, corn husks and caranday palm trees is an eco-friendly option for homes worldwide.

Elsa Zaldívar is a social activist who has improved the lives of the inhabitants of Caaguazú, a small region plagued by the effects of severe deforestation. Even before she invented recyclable homes, Zaldívar helped the local women construct toilets and build stoves. Zaldívar also inspired the women to grow loofah and creating loofah sponges, mats, slippers, and insoles to generate income.

In this loofah cooperative, there was inevitably product grown that could not be sold. Elsa Zaldívar took on this opportunity to improve the lives of the people in Caaguazú once more and create an option for recyclable homes.

The finished loofah panels are made from recycled plastic and vegetable fibers. They cost about $3 per square meter to produce and do not generate any waste. Zaldívar says that when the recyclable home panels do wear out or break, they can be ground up and formed into another panel.