Find out more

Ubuntu-Blox Project on Facebook

Recycled Plastic Website

Informational Videos:

Ubuntu-blox of plastic trash- 4 min.; Collecting trash- 3 min., Cleaning- 3 min.

Ubuntu-blox of vetiver- 3 min.

Ubuntu-blox of straw- Part I: 9 min.; Pt II-2 min.; Pt III (Nov trip)- 4 min.

Check the Ubuntu-blox Youtube Channel for new videos.


CBS Dalla, February 27, 2012

Huffington Post, April 17, 2012

SMU Daily Campus, April 13, 2011


In 2010 Harvey Lacey, with Owen Geiger's help, invented a press and a structural wall system to turn waste materials from a problem into a resource.

The first generation used foam, film, and other plastics considered non-recyclable by standard techniques, to create compressed plastic blocks.

Recent innovation in Haiti used agricultural waste to make firm, natural blocks. Vetiver grass is grown for thatch and the roots are boiled to extract a fragrant oil. The plant is insect repellant. Vetiver blocks covered with plaster and kept dry under a roof overhang should  last well in warm climates.


These slide shows provide an introduction to the fast-moving world of compressed trash blocks. Also available in other languages: French is online now.

Haiti Communitere has produced manuals for Ubuntu-blox of plastic in English and in Kreyol.

These will be updated soon- note that wire for binding bales can be replaced with poly electrician's cord, and poly bag rolls or rice bags for holding trash can be replaced with lighter plastic or mesh bags.

Structures and tests to date:

In 2011 and 2012 Ubuntu-blox were featured at Southern Methodist University's Engineering and Humanity Week and in 2012 at Earth Day Dallas thanks to Memnosyne Foundation.

In early 2012 a small stuccoed plastic Ubuntu-blox wall portion and a full building were both tested at the NTS laboratory in Plano, Texas. The building survived shaking equivalent to 8.3 on the Richter scale without significant damage. The wall portion survived a half hour of the equivalent of 90 mile per hour wind and rain with no damage.
During 2012 a demonstration house was built at Haiti Communitaire in Port au Prince, Haiti. Plans for a vetiver block library building are in process for a rural Haitian site in early 2013.
See for yourself:  wind test video, quake test video, test report.

A note about plans for Ubuntu-blox houses:

Ubuntu-Blox walls must be straight because they are post-tensioned with galvanized wire.

Plastic blocks provide good compressive strength when pinned between vertical support members of rebar or bamboo. Plastic blocks must also be protected from exposure to sunlight by cement stucco or other plasters. Blocks of roots and stems are firm and should work in similar ways. If they are mortared in place, support members may not need to be spaced as close together as needed for plastic blocks.

Although most flammable materials covered by stucco or plaster exhibit a good fire-resistance, Ubuntu-Blox made of plastic could possibly melt or release toxic gases in a prolonged fire. They are perfect for single story buildings in warm regions where no source of heat is needed inside, and all rooms usually open directly outside for excellent egress in the very unlikely event of fire. Ubuntu-Blox can also be appropriate for a second story built on top of a non-combustible ground floor, when appropriate emergency exits are included.

In many regions people cook with open fires inside their house, and will continue to do so whether stoves are available or not. Ubuntu-Blox can be appropriate built on a non-combustible base wall for these situations. A hyper-wattle or standard earthbag base wall is an inexpensive method that can easily have rebar anchored in it.
Make a Free Website with Yola.