The toothbrushes, given away to business and first class passengers, are being slotted into wall cavities to help with insulation in the house which is being built in the grounds of the university's Faculty of Arts campus in central Brighton.
The project is being backed by TV designer and presenter Kevin McCloud who, with University of Brighton lecturer and architect Duncan Baker-Brown, worked on a similar build in London for a TV programme in 2008.
The toothbrushes were sourced by Cat Fletcher from Freegle which promotes keeping usable items out of landfill and which is finding waste material for the Waste House.
She said: "We discovered there are millions of toothbrushes collected and thrown away by airline passengers after just one use. This is a terrible waste and we are grateful to Gatwick for allowing us to recycle them."
Toothbrushes from Gatwick airport arriving at the Brighton Waste House
Ms Fletcher has also found 1,000 vinyl banners that were heading for landfill sites. These are being used as internal vapour control layers and damp proof courses. Old video cassettes are also filling wall cavities.
Project architect Duncan Baker-Brown has called for more buildings to be made from waste rather than from materials that damage the environment and he has criticised governments around the world for encouraging people to rely on rapidly-depleting fossil fuels.
Mr Baker-Brown said more companies were donating to the Waste House project and showing their commitment to a more ethical approach to building. Companies include:
- AAC Waterproofing ltd which has supplied Prelasti rubber membrane roof finish made from up to 40% waste rubber and other material from car tyres. Mears apprentices and City College carpentry students worked to ensure the ply roof decking was ready for the roofers.
- The Brighton & Hove Wood Recycling Project which supplied second-hand timber.
- Chandlers Sustainable Building Solutions which supplied surplus Porotherm Clay Blocks installed in the exposed vaulted ceiling on the first floor. The rest form one of the internal walls downstairs.
- Dupont Building Innovations which supplied Tyvek® Vapour Control & Building Membranes for the external walls of the Waste House and which control the flow of condensation.
- The Velux Company Ltd which supplied triple-glazed INTEGRA roof lights which give 20% more natural light.
- MNH Sustainable Cabin Services which collected and delivered the Gatwick toothbrushes.
- Bay Media which collected and delivered the banners.
- Ejot UK Ltd which supplied specialists long screw fixings for securing external wall and roof insulation, also for supplying the fixing system for the Photovoltaic Solar panels that will be arriving on site in the next couple of weeks.
- Kingspan UK for supplying slightly damaged external wall and roof insulation that would normally be sold off cheaply to farmers to insulate their barns or reprocessed back at Kingspan factories.
- Rationel Windows and Doors UK for supplying triple glazed high-performance AURA timber doors and windows.
Mr Baker-Brown said the Waste House was now watertight and is expected to be completed by the spring: "This progress has only been possible because of the continued hard work of our site agent David Pendegrass of Mears, together with City College students and tutors, Mears apprentices and some dedicated volunteers."