A Colombian start-up has created a way to make durable, snap-together bricks from discarded plastic and old rubber tyres.
Closing the cycle of plastic: Durable housing solutions from recycled plastic and rubber waste
Colombian architecht, Oscar Andres Mendez, and his team at Conceptos Plásticos saw two major crises facing the world and decided to tackle both with recycled building materials. The first issue is the housing crisis, prevalent in Latin America where some 80 percent of the population now resides in urban areas. The second is the staggering quantity of plastic waste overwhelming landfill sites. To tackle these two issues, Conceptos Plásticos recycles plastic and old tyres into LEGO-like building blocks that families can use to easily construct their own homes.
The blocks are easy to work with, fire resistant, and are able to resist natural disasters
In Bogota, Colombia, some 700 tons of plastic is discarded daily, with just 100 tons of that being recycled. But that’s all beginning to change, thanks to the work of architect Oscar Mendez and his company, Conceptos Plásticos. Their process transforms plastic and rubber waste into a construction material, and uses it to build houses for those who need it most, all across Colombia.
Conceptos Plásticos transforms plastic and rubber waste into an alternative construction foundation for permanent and temporary housing, shelters, classrooms, community halls and other buildings. This not only prevents plastic pollution and diverts waste from landfills, it also creates much needed building materials for communities to establish a physical infrastructure.
The recycled plastic waste is melted and poured into a mould and these plastic blocks work like Lego pieces, meaning that whole communities and families can play a part in constructing their own homes. The materials contain additives that makes them resistant to fire and because the structure is plastic-based, it is earthquake resistant.
The company say their business helps in the fight against extreme poverty, promotes sustainable practices that positively impact the environment, and empowers local communities to assist in the rebuilding of their homes.
The unique designs of the building elements allows anyone to build quickly, efficiently and cheaply
The company say their comprehensive project benefits lots of vulnerable sectors, while creating a sustainable solution that endures over time. The building process involves entire families and communities while mitigating the environmental problem caused by pollution, which of course leads to climate change. The project also has a social impact in impoverished areas most in need, where the unique designs of the building elements, based on recycled materials, allows anyone to build quickly, efficiently and cheaply.
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