Mataram (ANTARA) - For those who think paper waste is not as useful as plastic waste, The Griya Lombok would be an eye-opener and reason enough to think again.

The house, which is completely made of paper and is touted to be the only such dwelling in Indonesia, has been built and is owned by Theo Setiadi Suteja.

Suteja's house is located in South Ampenan village, Mataram City, Lombok Island, West Nusa Tenggara Province. He said he built the house to return, or reuse, what has been taken from the Earth.

"What is the raw material of paper? It's wood. We wanted to 'retransform' the paper into wood to suppress deforestation," he explained.

Thirty percent of the components used for building the house comprised bricks and paving blocks made from paper waste, he said. He informed that the idea to build a paper house came to him in 2010.

Initially, his creative hands reused old newspapers to shape five thousand kilograms of bricks. Then, he arranged the paper bricks in exotic installations.

Visitors to the house will surely be amazed by the paper brick structures displayed in Suteja's art gallery and private room.

He said that it required dedication to make the paper bricks as they need sunlight to dry. In this sense, the paper bricks come from nature and are also supported by nature in their creation process.

Suteja said that his paper bricks have considerable durability. They get sturdier the oftener they are exposed to sunlight, he claimed.

"You can test the durability of the bricks I made," he added.

It is safe to say that the house Suteja and his family, which includes three children, live in is an eco-friendly one. His success in building the house proves that he is a true environment warrior who is taking concrete actions to protect nature.

He said he hopes that his creative idea will inspire many people in Indonesia to take similar steps to preserve nature by reusing and optimizing waste.

It is cheering to imagine a world where many people share the same determination as Suteja's to build homes that are not just environmentally friendly, but also relatively resistant to earthquakes.

Suteja said that his house survived the earthquake that struck Lombok Island in 2018 without suffering any damage, proving that paper bricks hold up well during quakes.

His paper bricks have also proven to be resistant to fire. He said that gasoline-sparked flames only managed to blaze for one minute on the surface of the bricks.

Reusing paper waste

Suteja said that the creative idea of using paper bricks did not come to him suddenly. Rather it took shape gradually. According to him, everything began when he was still working in an international company on Lombok Island. At one point in his working duties, the company deployed him to a region where he saw trucks loading lumber.

While watching the trucks, he began to wonder how many trees had been felled to load them, exposing the region to the risk of flash floods induced by deforestation. Moreover, deforestation could cause people to face even tougher difficulties during dry seasons, as a barren forest cannot serve as a water-conserving spot.

This thought eventually led him to find a creative solution and make a structure without using lumber, only waste.

"It saddens me to witness damaged and barren forests. In the end, I decided to resign from my job. In other words, I left my comfort zone," he said.

He informed that his concern for the environment began much earlier when he was still a college student in Denpasar city, Bali, his town of origin.

Speaking about The Griya Lombok paper house, he said that as many as 1,439 visitors had visited the house since it was opened to public five years ago

He further said that he did not build the house as his only artwork. In fact, he has been transforming paper waste into more valuable goods.

"We finally introduced several products as artworks to the public in 2017," he informed.

He added that the gallery in the paper house currently displays about 200 artworks.

His target, however, is to fill the gallery with 2 thousand products that include chairs, tables, trays, ashtrays, and other artistic furniture made entirely from paper waste.

Suteja underscored that The Griya Lombok does not simply offer products made from just any paper, as it offers artistic products that are made from paper that is categorized as waste.

Speaking of profits, he said that he earns an income mostly from the sales of entry tickets and training courses, rather than sales of products.

"It is rather a passive income coming from entry tickets and training courses offered to those interested," he added.

The products displayed in the gallery have been made from used HVS paper, old newspaper, and cardboard boxes that he obtained from stores and markets not so far from the house. State-run telecommunication company PT Telkom Indonesia has also been involved in providing raw materials.

What's more, Suteja spends all the revenue he earns from the gallery on supporting and participating in social activities, such as planting mangrove trees, cleaning beaches, and empowering coastal communities.

He expressed the hope that the next generation will share his spirit and be willing to continue what he has begun for the sake of creating a better world and life for future generations.

The paper waste warrior is also dreaming of establishing a museum made from paper waste, which he wants to name the Museum of Earth.

He wants the museum to be a place that promotes the principles of environmental protection and serves as a symbol of love towards Mother Earth.

By doing what he does, he hopes that he will be able to spread kindness and leave behind a preserved environment as a legacy for future generations.

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Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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