A Return Visit to Doug Eichelberger’s Trash Barn

It’s time to revisit Colorado architect Doug Eichelberger’s trash barn and comment on the refreshing economic and sustainable philosophies that are behind the outbuildings he’s created using little more than scrap that was destined for the landfill or found materials.

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When Eichelberger built his first barn on his Larkspur, CO ranch out of plastic and paper that wasn’t even fit for the recycling trucks, he was a pioneer in experimentation with alternative building materials. Since he built his first scrap barn from plastic and paper deemed non-recyclable, the world of recycling has thankfully evolved for the positive. Much in the way of plastic and paper trash is now being recycled to manufacture viable new materials.

But the world is a long way from any kind of finish line or model for sustainability, especially in places like Africa and South America – just to mention a few continents – where trashed plastic bottles litter the countryside surrounding impoverished areas. What Eichelberger set out to do almost 10 years ago was to address the problem of waste plastic and paper by providing a cost-effective solution that might be deployed worldwide.

In this short and entertaining video from ionINNOVATion titled “The Trash Barn,”  Eichelberger takes viewers on a tour of a very functional barn that was constructed with materials that were considered no better than trash.

Since this barn was built it appears to have withstood the tests of time, hot and cold, very intense Colorado sun, and wind.

While these reclaimed materials may not seem ideal to some homebuilders, they make a viable building solution that should be seriously considered, says Eichelberger, adding that poor regions in parts of Africa and other continents have an abundance of plastic waste that never even makes it to a landfill and instead floats out into the oceans.

The idea of repurposing materials that usually get tossed away provides numerous benefits that architects and builders are starting to consider. Thank goodness!