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Brazil: CFC Elimination
With walls made of bottles and a roof of bamboo, Luiz and Edna's house cost a fraction of a normal building. And now an ecologically sustainable village is on the drawing board. Could this be an alternative to Brazil's dilapidated favelas?
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Segment 1

TITLE
Renewable Home
VOICEOVER
This morning, Edna Toledo is busy making a cake out of banana skins.
EDNA TOLEDO
It's luxury made from rubbish.
VOICEOVER
If Edna's recipe seems unusual, it's nothing compared to the amazing house she lives in.
EDNA TOLEDO
I like my house. It's airy. Even when it's very hot we don’t feel it here.
VOICEOVER
Edna and her husband, Luiz, have built their home entirely from rubbish.
LUIZ TOLEDO
It is not just about cheap materials. It’s art! It’s beautiful. And when you are in a place where you feel good, it's good for your whole body. All the walls are made of newspapers and magazines. They're decorated with broken bottles. The floor is marble waste. We cut it to size and laid it. The roof is made from bamboo found at the side of the road. The house is very good. Besides the view, because we are up high the temperature is also constant. The ventilation is also good.
VOICEOVER
Luiz is justifiably proud of this house. He only built it recently after the couple got bored with their first recycled house. That one is at the bottom of the hill and it, too, was made entirely from rubbish, except for a few vital points.
LUIZ TOLEDO
You seal it like this. It is cement for laying bricks, but inside it's rubbish, rubble from building sites. Then you lay them like this to make the walls. Look. This is what I was talking about. You can play with the colors, align them and make patterns. It's just the bottom of the bottle. It has quality, and beauty too.
VOICEOVER
The beauty might be in the eye of the beholder, but there's no doubting Luiz's originality.
LUIZ TOLEDO
The door is different. I like to be different. The ceiling was made out of carbon paper, which has no market value. We made a roof everyone likes. That section of roof is made of milk cartons. I mixed in leaves, randomly, and that's the result. You can add any color you like and you end up with a beautiful result.
WILLIAM MONACHESI [Architect]
From an ecological point of view it's fantastic. These materials would end up in rubbish dumps or just as litter, dumped anywhere. So it's economically viable. And structurally, the material is very strong.
VOICEOVER
William Monachesi is a local architect who has been watching Luiz Toledo's work closely.
GIOVANA VITOLA [Reporter]
Out of 10, what would you give him for beauty and design?
WILLIAM MONACHESI
I wouldn’t give him 10. That would be going too far. But I think 9 or 9.5 would be fair, because he and his wife created it from nothing, a labor of love.
VOICEOVER
It's not just Luiz's building materials that are environmentally friendly. In front of his house, he has his own sewage treatment plant -- a system of ponds filled with aquatic plants that filter the waste.
LUIZ TOLEDO
This is our water treatment system. This is treated sewage and grey water. No smell, nothing. Excellent.
WOMAN
Luiz?
LUIZ TOLEDO
Yes?
WOMAN
Mom is asking if you want to buy copper from her.
LUIZ TOLEDO
Yes, let me have a look. I've got time.
VOICEOVER
The Toledos' passion for recycling is well known throughout the neighborhood. Everything Luiz buys from his neighbors or saves from his own rubbish ends up here, in this storage area.
LUIZ TOLEDO
Here we sort out the materials. These are glass. No market value. Brazil doesn't recycle glass. These ones here, I use a lot in construction. Small ones like these I mix in to make concrete. These newspapers here -- I can almost build a house from this quantity. Once it's wet and mashed it increases in volume. I can almost make a house just from this.
VOICEOVER
Luiz's scavenging only provides a small amount of his building material. Most of it is collected by the catadores, the people who walk Brazil's streets collecting rubbish and delivering it to recycling co-ops, like this one. This catadores' co-op was actually founded by Luiz himself ten years ago. It provides an income for many of the poorest people in the area.
MAN
He takes a lot of glass.
LUIZ TOLEDO
Thirty-one reals worth of glass. I could make another three houses like mine from this pile.
VOICEOVER
On the drive back to the Toledos' home, I get a good look at the local housing. Much of it is very primitive and drab, without much natural light or ventilation.
LUIZ TOLEDO
The way houses are built nowadays is so unhealthy. Closed, no ventilation. So then you put in fans and air-conditioners, which affect your breathing. It's a vicious cycle going nowhere.
VOICEOVER
Luiz has decided to tackle this problem with his recycled housing. He is planning a condominium development, and on the homemade elevator back to his house, Luiz points out where he intends to start building.
LUIZ TOLEDO
The houses will be built across this hill. There will only be ten houses well spaced out. They'll be arranged so as not to be on top of each other.
VOICEOVER
The ecologically sustainable village is still on the drawing board, but it already looks like being a success. However, Luiz says they're not interested in making a profit from it.
LUIZ TOLEDO
As it is our own system our idea is not to worry about who will pay more. We only have 20 homes and 65 expressions of interest. So the selection won't be based on money. It will be based on who really wants a different lifestyle. Not a mainstream one.
VOICEOVER
That night, a local government architect who is overseeing Luiz's development drops by. Laura Jane Barbosa is excited by the potential of Luiz's ideas.
LAURA JANE BARBOSA [Local Government Architect]
So it's definitely ecologically and economically sound. I think it's fantastic. It's unbelievably creative. This house is life. It represents a love of life.
LUIZ TOLEDO
You have no excuse for not living well. In this house there is almost nothing bought new. Humanity needs to give up certain things and go back to simpler ways because the way we are going, we won’t survive.