When plastic waste becomes a brick!< Back to Blog
A small slot on our regional news recently caught our attention.
No, it wasn’t about giant Lego, but there is a connection here.
It was a piece about two inventors from Cambridgeshire who, inspired by a gadget they’d seen being used by an Indian Charity, had developed a new machine that could turn plastics into a new kind of ‘brick’.
While their finished product might not look anything like what we usually think of as a brick, when stacked up, covered in mesh and plastered or rendered, these bricks can be used for non-load-bearing walls and other purposes like playground fillers.
The best thing is that this (and the original version used by the charity, Nishtha pictured here) uses the kind of softer plastics that can’t be recycled any other way (e.g. carrier bags and other packaging materials).
So, this got us wondering whether there are any other similar innovations taking place. After a quick trawl of the internet, it turns out that the ‘plastic brick’ market is on the rise!
Here’s just two examples of what we found:
Also originating out of India, a group of engineers from Kerala have found another way of turning heaps of plastic waste into 15 x 30 cm bricks. All graduates from the Model Engineering College in Ernakulam, this group’s technique involves melting down the plastic and adding other materials such as sand to create a product that is equally as strong as a conventional brick!
The entrepreneurs are not selling the bricks themselves, but instead focusing on bringing the machine that makes them to market.
New Zealand company, ByFusion, is probably a bit ahead of many others in this field.
Using their ‘Byblocker’, a portable machine that fits into a regular sized shipping container, they seem to be already working at a commercial level to transform mixed plastic waste into what they’ve called ‘Byblocks’.
The company claims that these Byblocks are stronger than normal bricks and offer fantastic sound and temperature insulation, making them suitable for landscaping, walling, infrastructure, projects, utility structures, warehousing, modular/ micro housing units and more!
We reckon this is one to watch!
What’s the story here?
Well, we all know that the world has a massive plastic problem. And, we all know that, wherever there’s a problem, solutions will more often be found if they’re ones that also make a bit of money! The innovations we’re seeing in developing plastic bricks undoubtedly have a great social motive, but perhaps they’re also a good example of our commercial world getting what it wants too. Look at it this way…
There’s a commonly quoted saying that goes like this: “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade”.
Perhaps this will be the quote of the future: “If the world gives you plastic, make bricks!”