5 Reasons We Love Earthbags

Earthbag house in Malawi by The Mlambe Project
Earthbag house in Malawi by The Mlambe Project

“Back in 2012, our co-founder Jamie sought to build a school in Malawi using conventional western building techniques. After lots of research, he soon discovered that this would prove too costly. It was then that he came across the earthbag building system.

The earthbag building system uses earthbags- polypropylene bags filled with soil- that are then stacked one on top of the other to build stable walls. The earthbag system squarely addresses the ‘triple bottom line’, because it is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. Earthbag building is essentially low impact and low cost and fosters the creation of employment.

Read on to find out 5 reasons that we love earthbag building…

1. Easy to learn and user-friendly
The earthbag system can be mastered by unskilled people and communities in a very short amount of time, with minimal supervision. This means that local job creation is a major benefit, with projects often employing women as well as men. In communities where women often face the burden of work, this is a fantastic benefit!

3. Cost
Earthbags can be filled with a variety of materials that can be obtained from the site itself, often available at no cost. This dramatically reduces fossil fuel use and transport costs to the site. It also means environmental damage from quarrying is eliminated.

5. Climate control
Earthbag structures control humidity well since moisture will be absorbed and released from the walls, meaning the interior humidity is maintained at a steady and healthy level. This eliminates the condensation and mould that can occur with concrete and brick walls, reducing the dangers from respiratory conditions such as asthma, pneumonia and TB.

One of our primary aims as an organisation is to share the earthbag building technique with as many NGOs, governmental bodies and people as possible. We really do believe in its cost-effectiveness, sustainability and longevity, and we hope we are the first of many earthbag building charities in Malawi.”

The Mlambe Project

2 thoughts on “5 Reasons We Love Earthbags”

  1. I met with one of the project managers on this project, Lucy, and they are doing a great job. Using local materials, and training the local people, this is a project worth getting behind and supporting. I am glad that they are using earthbags, because it paves the way for others who want to use the same technique. Thanks to Mlambe Project for doing the groundwork that will help others in the future.

    • I’m trying to figure out why earthbag is so popular in Malawi. It’s turning into a real hot spot it seems.


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