Can we build homes out of recycled thermoplastics?


Why don’t we build homes out of recycled thermoplastics? I’ve see some in Latin American countries, but they’ve not been a runaway success, though I can’t understand why.

It seems like some of the obvious problems are pretty easily accounted for:

* Thermoplastics out gas
* Put a sealant (glass-filled epoxy paint comes to mind) and then drywall between the plastic beams or bricks and the outgassing happens outside of the enclosed space just like in a landfill.
* They weaken in high temperature climates.
* Stiffness could be accounted for by integrating rebar or wire mesh in the plastic moulding process.

Using bricks and beams of recycled plastic seem like they have some obvious advantages:

* Because of low cost, plastic heavy bricks could be pretty tolerant of contaminants and thermal history of their feed stock thus enabling the use of recycled plastics.
* It doesn’t matter the color since it’ll be painted on both sides.
* You could mould NEMA enclosures and electrical conduit into the brick itself.
* The price of recycled PET plastic is ~$140/ton but a ton of lumber is much higher and still requires electrical fixturing and pipe/plumbing fixturing that could be built in to a Lego brick style plastic construction.

In: Engineering

One thing I’ve read is most of the cheaply built ones are very flammable when compared to traditional building materials, and can quickly become a runaway fire if it’s not caught and contained. There are additives that can be added to reduce this but then it makes it cost more than standard building practices. It may become cheaper in the future but it’s similar to when green energy like solar started; it’s costs didn’t out weigh the benefits