Can Plastic Be Recycled and Turned into Bricks?

The world is facing a major plastic problem. Plastic pollution is a real thing and experts don’t really know how to solve it. Well, a solution may be coming soon. Young engineers from Nairobi, Kenya, have recently found a way to turn disposable plastic into concrete bricks that can be used in building. That’s as innovative as it comes.

Who would have ever thought of such a result? It’s a viable and great solution for all the plastic landfills that pollute Earth. Plastic doesn’t break down for hundreds of years. However, by turning it to housing materials, we can solve one of the biggest problems humanity is facing.

A Creative Solution to a Big Problem

The young team of engineers was trying to learn if the mountains of disposable plastics from Kenya’s national parks can be recycled. In 2020, Kenya put a ban on using disposable plastics in natural areas. This followed a ban on plastic bags in 2017. The country is trying to reduce plastic waste, yet it just keeps coming.

Almost 500 metric accurate of plastic waste is generated in Nairobi alone. The country doesn’t have the capacity to recycle it all. It usually ships plastic waste to the USA where it is later processed. That was until Mzamvi Matee found an ingenious solution to the problem.

She says that turning plastic into bricks is essentially turning garbage to money. She used plastic bags and other types of plastic waste to develop concrete bricks. Matee’s company produces up to 1,500 bricks from plastic every day, making it a viable answer to Kenya’s plastic waste problem. The company has partnered with packaging plants that unload the waste at Matee’s plant which helps save transportation fees.

As the engineer explains, her company recycles the waste that can no longer be recycled. Plastic certainly qualifies for it. Her company, Ghenge Makers, currently produces bricks out of high- and low-density polyethyrene as well as polypropylene. These materials are used in everything from shampoo bottles to buckets and plastic cutlery.

The latest innovation has been received with widespread acclaim. Matee says that she couldn’t sit idle seeing how the authorities are unable to solve the problem. The first Ghenge Makers plant was such a big hit that she’s currently in the process of opening a new one with tripled capacity increase.

It’s a great idea for countries outside of Kenya too, as we’re all facing the same problem.