Venezuela Is Turning Thousands of Abandoned Cars into Houses

While many people think countries like Norway are leading the way with recycling programs, an ambitious new idea in Venezuela takes things to a whole new level. The country just announced that it will start recycling abandoned cars, motorcycles, and bikes in order to build houses from their raw materials.

"We have sent 10,485 automobiles, 9,651 motorbikes, and 539 bicycles to the national steel industry," deputy justice minister Maria Martinez said on Tuesday. And why not? It's a great idea. Not only does the new recycling program clean up the streets, but all that extra steel will also provide housing to tens of thousands of low-income Venezuelans. The whole plan fits in nicely with Hugo Chavez's popular "Great Venezuelan Housing Mission" and definitely helps the country's ailing steel industry.

Vehicle recycling is hardly a new idea. In fact, it's a huge business, worth some $22 billion in the United States alone. And all that fresh steel is used for all kinds of things, including raw materials for home construction. Venezuela's plan is especially elegant because of how directly it turns cumbersome trash into useful housing for people who might not otherwise have it. Plus, more recycling is always a good thing. [Reuters]

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