Recycled plastic waste has become a very useful tool in recent times, especially in Africa where many social entrepreneurs and individuals are increasingly using them to impact lives.
The environmentally friendly recycled plastic wastes are fast becoming a source of income for many.
Not only do plastics pollute water bodies, they also provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which are causative agents for malaria.
In the West African nation of Ivory Coast, bricks are being made from plastics to help tackle a huge shortfall of classrooms.
A community in Ivory Coast has partnered with UNICEF to use plastic bricks to build schools. The project is being carried out by a Colombian social enterprise called ‘Conceptos Plásticos’.
Model classrooms have already been built with bricks made from plastics recovered from the streets of Bogotá.
According to the BBC, the classrooms cost almost half the price of conventional building materials and can be built using just a hammer.
Since 2018, plastic waste has been turned into 26 classrooms.
The company whose factory in Bogotá develops the bricks reportedly buys its materials from 15,000 collectors, who work individually or in cooperatives.
With the amount of plastic waste produced in the country and the new technique of recycling, the company is now building a larger factory in Yopougon, a suburb of Abidjan.
Ivory Coast alone produces 300 tonnes of plastic waste a day, of which only around 5 percent is currently recycled, according to Sophie Chavanel, head of communications for UNICEF Côte d’Ivoire.
According to France 24, UNICEF has agreed to buy enough bricks from Conceptos Plásticos for over 500 classrooms.
“Five tonnes of plastic bricks, each around 50cm long and much lighter than other types of building block, are required to build a classroom. When the factory is at full capacity, its 9,200 tonnes of brick will be enough to build more than 1,800 classrooms a year”, France24 reported.
UNICEF estimates the country will need 15,000 new classrooms by 2021 and 30,000 by 2025 and using the plastic brick technique is approximately a third cheaper than conventional construction.
Learn more in this video: