Dr. Jeff Wilson of the Huston-Tillotson University in Texas has embarked on a very unique and special experiment. He has transformed a dumpster into a home and plans to live in it for a full year, so that he can learn as much as he can about sustainable living. The experiment is called the Dumpster Project and its main aim is a hands-on study of how much space a person actually needs to live.

The drastically increasing population and limited space on the planet should be prompting us all to start thinking of downsizing, which is the main aim of this project too. Wilson’s dumpster home measures a modest 33 square feet, while an average home in the US measures 2,500 square feet. That’s quite a difference, but Wilson isn’t actually suggesting everyone should make such a drastic change in the amount of their living space. He does, however, hope to encourage people to think about making do with less, and hopes his experiment will spur new ideas in this direction.



The first step in preparing the dumpster so that it was fit for living in, was to clean and rust-proof it. After this, insulation was added. The dumpster was also fitted with a solar panel array to provide all the needed energy. The home also features a high-efficiency toilet, a weather station, air conditioning, a pitched roof, locks and a mailbox. The storage problem was ingeniously solved by installing a false floor, which provides more than enough space for a modest collection of necessities. The pockets of the dumpster have been sealed to ensure that it is not mistaken for a real one by the garbage men. Wilson furnished the interior himself, and installed a rain garden outside.




Work on the project is still on going though Wilson has lived in the dumpster since February 4 this year. Follow this link to view a documentary of what his life in the dumpster has been like so far.