- Associated Press - Sunday, January 22, 2017

JASPER, Mo. (AP) - A southwestern Missouri man is taking recycling to the extreme by building a house made from everything from old tires to cardboard and wood scraps from dilapidated barns.

Jimmy Carter, 36, expects to complete what he calls his 3,500-square-foot “Carter Groundhouse Project” in about four years on his family’s 260-acre farm near Jasper, The Joplin Globe (https://bit.ly/2ijMB6x ) reported.

The home, at least for now, consists of hundreds of earth-packed tires. It eventually will feature more than 1,000, each weighing 300 pounds. The tires will be stacked eight high in back and 10 high in front, Carter said of the project that typically consumes 30 hours of his time each week.

The house will have minimal reliance on electricity and gas. Solar energy will come from sun-facing windows, and rainwater will be collected through gutters into cisterns, Carter said.

Three sides of the house will be tucked into the earth, with the roof sitting just a foot or so above level ground. The interior will be nearly identical to that of a cave, where temperatures remain steady year-round.

“I want this house to look like it just grew up from the earth,” said Carter, a Jasper native and father of three who moved back to the area from Kansas City early last year. “I want people to drive by and not really notice that a house is even there.”

A devotee of environmental protection, Carter always harbored a dream of building a “green” home with his bare hands, much like his ancestors did centuries ago.

He likes the cost of the materials. Many of the tires come to him for free, given that landfill owners won’t bury them and burning them is environmentally bad.

Carter figures he already has spent about $4,000 on the home, mostly for gravel and the use of a bulldozer. He expects the project’s price tag to be about $25,000.

“I’ll admit, there are times when I think about this project and I get a little scared,” Carter said during a recent YouTube video he made. “What if it’s an epic failure? However, I also vividly remember sitting in traffic for an hour, and (working) in a tiny cubical every day thinking, ‘Is this really where I am going to spend the majority of my (life)?’

“Part of why I’m doing this is to make people see value in (recyclable material in tires) and not simply as trash,” he added. “Once it’s done, it won’t be just a home to me, but it will be a bond. It definitely feels good. And it’s good for my soul.”

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Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, https://www.joplinglobe.com

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