Why Make Papercrete?

Inexpensive - A block 12" by 8" by 5" can be  made for 15 cents or less, depending on the amount of cement used.

Strong - Papercrete and fibrous adobe are extremely strong, due to the presence of millions of fibers.

Lightweight - A block as above weighs only 3.5 lbs.

Insulating - Papercrete has so much dead air space that it makes an excellent insulator. A Papercrete wall requires no additional insulation. See an example here. (It's the pink building near the bottom.)

On-site Manufacture - You make your own building materials where you will use them.

If you are considering materials for building a house, add Papercrete to your list of possibilities. There are good reasons to build with Papercrete, as you have just seen. You'll be making use of unused (waste) paper, recycling it into a usable shelter. Of all the materials one can build with, Papercrete has little 'embodied energy', the total amount of energy (fossil fuels, for example) necessary to gather raw materials and process them into a product, then ship it for sale to the public. If one considers that the paper is actually discarded waste, the question of its energy doesn't arise, because it has been used and is now available for a second use.

Portland cement, however, is relatively energy-intensive to produce, so one must come to terms with that fact when selecting materials from which to build. It is possible to substitute some or even all of the cement with clay or clay soil, thus making 'fibrous adobe', reducing the embodied energy to practically nothing. It's properties are similar to Papercrete, but different enough to warrant examination, so experimentation is necessary to determine if it will serve your needs. Fibrous adobe is closer in properties to adobe - heavier, more compressive strength, less-insulating. See the description of papercrete for more information here. Watch a movie about Papercrete and the Tow-mixer here.

DVD Now Available case and disc images 

How to Make and
Use a Papercrete

Step by step DVD video


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about making a
Tow-mixer and
using it to make