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8 homes made from recycled materials

Photo courtesy of Jaime, Cabana Floripa

Building with recycled materials can be a great way to save money and the environment.

It also makes for one-of-a-kind homes.

In some cases, recycled materials can make structures stronger, more efficient and less expensive to build than new materials. Charitable foundations have used plastic two-liter soda bottles to build shelters, schools and other buildings in impoverished areas. This school in the Philippines, for example, is built from old plastic bottles filled with adobe. They're inexpensive and about three times stronger than concrete.

But that doesn't mean recycled houses have to look like they're recycled. Some of them -- like a house in the Netherlands built from recycled brick -- fit in perfectly with their neighbors. They can be sleek and modern or colorful and bohemian, depending on the owner's taste.

Building an entire home out of recycled materials may not be feasible for everyone, but there are plenty of ways to incorporate salvaged or reused materials into a home's design. For example, stores like Habitat for Humanity's ReStore outlets sell donated building materials like doors, windows, cabinets and fixtures at discounted prices.

Need some inspiration? Click ahead to see eight unique houses built from recycled materials.

The Governor – Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Photo by Ossip van Duivenbode, courtesy of Architectuur Maken

This townhouse designed by Architectuur Maken looks brand-new, but its bricks are made of 15 tons of waste and rubble, including ceramics, glass and clay, according to Dezeen. Dutch company StoneCycling gathered the waste products from around the country, ground them up and formed them into bricks.

The Governor – Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Photo courtesy of Architectuur Maken

The four-story townhouse has one large room per floor, with a kitchen and dining room on the ground floor, an office and bathroom on the second, a living room on the third and a bedroom and rooftop terrace on the top floor.

Cabana Floripa – Florianopolis, Brazil

Photo courtesy of Jaime, Cabana Floripa

This treehouse on the Brazilian island of Santa Catarina was built from the remnants of demolished houses, the builder told Inhabitat. Building materials used include glass bottles, painted wood beams and ceramic tiles.

Cabana Floripa – Florianopolis, Brazil

Photo courtesy of Jaime, Cabana Floripa

It's available for rent on Airbnb for an average of $77 per night. The cabin sleeps up to five people and has internet, air conditioning and cable TV.

Collage house – Mumbai, India

Photo courtesy of S+PS Architects

This home in Mumbai is built around a central courtyard and has a facade made from the doors and windows of homes that were demolished in the city, according to S+PS Architects in Arch Daily. The home makes use of other recycled materials, including 100-year-old salvaged stone columns, flooring made from the beams of old houses, fabric waste and waste slivers of cut stone.

Collage house – Mumbai, India

Photo courtesy of S+PS Architects

The five-bedroom, five-bathroom home was built to house four generations of a family and also has staff quarters, an underground rainwater retention tank, a study, a rooftop pavilion and a rooftop garden.

The Bottle Houses – Cap-Egmont, Prince Edward Island

Photo courtesy of The Bottle Houses

These fairytale-like structures were built by Édouard Arsenault out of more than 25,000 recycled glass bottles that he gathered from around the community. Construction on all three buildings took about four years. They're now open as a tourist attraction.

The Bottle Houses – Cap-Egmont, Prince Edward Island

Photo courtesy of The Bottle Houses

Arsenault built a six-gabled house, a tavern and a chapel. The chapel is the most detailed building, and includes an altar and pews. He died in 1984 before completing some of the final details on the chapel.

Earthship – Taos, New Mexico

Photo courtesy of Zillow

Earthships are self-sustaining homes built from natural and recycled materials. This two-bedroom, two-bathroom Earthship home in the Greater World Community, a neighborhood of Earthships, is currently for sale at $515,000.

Earthship – Taos, New Mexico

Photo courtesy of Zillow

There's a greenhouse running the length of the house, a fish pond that feeds another vegetable garden and a garage equipped to charge an electric car. The home is accented with reused materials like recycled glass bottles.

Container Guest House – San Antonio, Texas

Photo by Chris Cooper, courtesy of Poteet Architects

This guest house was designed by Poteet Architects for a client who wanted to reuse a one-way shipping container. The eco-friendly building sits on a foundation built from recycled telephone poles, and has a deck made of recycled soda bottles.

Container Guest House – San Antonio, Texas

Photo by Chris Cooper, courtesy of Poteet Architects

It has one open living area, a bathroom and a storage area. The building also has a rooftop garden watered by gray water from the house's sinks and shower.

Recycled House – Charlottesville, Virginia

Photo courtesy of HomeAway

This house in downtown Charlottesville was built from reused building materials gathered over a period of six years. According to local media reports, the homeowner deconstructed a garage on the building site, and then reused many of the parts to build this one-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom guest house. Other building materials came from other buildings that were torn down in the area, such as an old cotton mill and an old mansion.

Recycled House – Charlottesville, Virginia

Photo courtesy of HomeAway

The home is available for rent on HomeAway for an average of $245 per night. It sleeps up to six people.

Recycled Materials Cottage – Panguipulli, Chile

Photo courtesy of Juan Luis Martínez Nahuel

This modern lakeside cottage is built from pieces taken from other homes and buildings. Architect Juan Luis Martínez Nahuel salvaged the glazed doors from the patio of a house from the 1960s and parquet flooring from a 1970s house for the cottage's exterior. Laminated and steel beams for the frame of the house had previously been used in a temporary exhibition.

Recycled Materials Cottage – Panguipulli, Chile

Photo courtesy of Juan Luis Martínez Nahuel

The cottage has two bedrooms, one bathroom and an open living area. All of the home's rooms open onto a covered walkway that runs the length of the building.