By Lipika Mudgal: Pollution is one of the major issues in the world. The increase in human population, and landfill rising and expanding day by day, is leading to increase in plastic waste all over the world, which accumulate in rivers, oceans and drinking water.
A Colombian company, Conceptos Plasticos, has come up with the solution to this problem by recycling plastic into LEGO-like building blocks that families can use to construct their homes.
Conceptos Plasticos transforms plastic and rubber waste into an alternative construction material for housing. The plastic waste is melted and poured into a mould to produce plastic blocks that work like LEGO pieces. The materials contain additive that makes them resistant to fire, and since the structure is plastic-based, it can also withstand earthquakes. The LEGO-like building blocks are easy to assemble and pocket-friendly.
The Conceptos Plasticos model home is divided into two bedrooms, a bathroom, a living room, dining room and kitchen. It can be assembled in only five days by four people who need not to have any previous experience. The price is very reasonable – only $130 per square meter for 40 square meter home, that is around $5200.
“In Bogota alone, approximately 750 tons of plastic waste is thrown into the landfill site of which only 100 are being recycled. We are making 100 homes out of the plastic in Dona Juana (the city’s landfill site), giving value to something that has no market.”
-says Oscar Andres Mendez, the owner of the company.
The plastic buildings are already providing shelter to needy people. In 2015, they helped 42 families “displaced by violence” in Guapi, Cauca by building a hostel for the families.
Growing up in Bogota, Mendez became aware of the serious problem caused by the plastic waste in Latin America, as well as housing deficit of 45 percent in each country. His company, Conceptos Plasticos, is aiming to tackle both these problems.
Mendez told Forbes:
“We hope to create a movement where more and more people get involved. We want to develop new products that make better use of the thousands and thousands of tons of plastic that is discarded. There will soon be more plastic in the sea than fish, so we really need to do something big.”
Their customers are the government, NGOs, Foundations and the private companies, that pay for the housing solution of the communities that they assist. They also provide material for the communities to use, and give them training on how to construct their houses using LEGO- like bricks. The construction system used is 30 percent cheaper than traditional systems in rural areas. The effort to contribute to sustainable development by reducing poverty and mitigating the environmental risks is definitely praise-worthy.
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