A new invention which turns unwanted plastic waste into bricks will be launching in South Africa. This innovation hopes to transform the country’s current unrecycled plastic waste into homes, hospitals, schools, and roads while creating jobs and helping the environment.
The Center for Regenerative Design & Collaboration (CRDC), based in Costa Rica, has created these Ecoblocks from shredded plastic waste. The finished product that’s extruded into blocks is a resin-limestone hybrid called EcoArena PRA (Pre-Conditioned Resin Aggregate). The EcoArena PRA and Ecoblock is an innovative environmentally-friendly product which incorporates regenerated waste plastic particles combined with a standard sand-cement mixture to produce a highly resistant, durable cement or cement block.
These blocks have been tested in Costa Rica for the last two years and will now be launched in Cape Town by the end of November.
CRDC has partnered with a leading operations company that has extensive expertise in waste management solutions to run this pilot project and the full-scale factory which is expected in the first half of 2020.
South Africa has a significant plastic waste problem, making it the perfect pilot site for this new product. The country currently consumes 1.5-million tonnes of plastic annually, of which only 21% is recycled. The rest ends up in landfills, in rivers, on beaches and in the ocean, making the need for a recycling system an urgent issue.
Donald Thompson, the CEO of the CRDC explained that they will be partnering with two major concrete manufacturers in the Western Cape as well as a major South African cement producer.
“In South Africa, there is an established and sophisticated cement industry. Against this, we need to create jobs, we need to clean up the environment and there is an urgent need for housing. Our plan is to use the Costa Rican model to initially launch in the Western Cape before rolling out the initiative nationally,” he said.
Benefits of EcoArena:
– Recycles plastic waste to be used as a concrete product in the construction industry
– EcoArena is more durable, lighter and more environmentally-friendly. It has also been tested in Costa Rica and will soon be trialled in South Africa
– Through its introduction in South Africa, this product could drastically reduce the plastic waste of the country while creating jobs and meeting environmental imperatives
– The Ocean Recovery Alliance (ORA) will work with DOW to carry out key waste management operations in South Africa
– Increase in thermal properties of walls
– Same fire resistance as standard concrete
– EcoArena PRA can be used in pressed concrete products as well as in bagged cement or poured concrete
– Lower dependency on other raw materials
– Reduce cement industries’ carbon footprint and carbon tax bill (South Africa).