Airport helps build house from waste

Gatwick toothbrushes being delivered to the Waste House at the University of Brighton - picture submitted
Gatwick toothbrushes being delivered to the Waste House at the University of Brighton - picture submitted

Gatwick Airport has donated more than 20,000 used toothbrushes to help the University of Brighton build Britain’s first house made almost entirely from rubbish. The toothbrushes are being slotted into wall cavities to help insulate the university’s Waste House.

The project is being backed by TV designer and presenter Kevin McCloud who, with University of Brighton lecturer and architect Duncan Baker-Brown, worked on a similar build in London for a TV programme in 2008.

The toothbrushes were sourced by Cat Fletcher from Freegle which promotes keeping usable items out of landfill and which is finding waste material for the Waste House.

She said: “We discovered there are millions of toothbrushes collected and thrown away by airline passengers after just one use. This is a terrible waste and we are grateful to Gatwick for allowing us to recycle them.”

Ms Fletcher has also found 1,000 vinyl banners that were heading for landfill sites. These are being used as internal vapour control layers and damp proof courses. Old video cassettes and throw-away razors are also filling wall cavities.

Project architect Duncan Baker-Brown has called for more buildings to be made from waste rather than from materials that damage the environment and he has criticised governments around the world for encouraging people to rely on rapidly-depleting fossil fuels.