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BY Abu Mubarik, 3:00pm June 25, 2022,

This Zambian innovator turns bottles into building blocks

Charles Tembo stands over recycled materials for making building blocks in Lusaka, Zambia, on May 13, 2021.(Xinhua/Martin Mbangweta)

Zambian entrepreneur Charles Tembo has invented a way of converting plastic bottles into building blocks instead of using quarry. The Lusaka resident decided to go into the recycling of plastic bottles because of his ambition to become an engineer. His other reason was to keep the capital clean. He noticed the capital was littered with so many bottles, glasses and other waste. 

“Looking at the situation in our country, Lusaka to be precise, there is indiscriminate disposal of bottles, glasses and other waste. I want Lusaka to be clean, to be free of bottles and glasses,” he told Xinhua.

Some months ago, he said his innovation was yet to yield monetary reward but he remained unshaken in his quest to keep the environment clean, provide jobs to others and eventually reap the rewards of success in the long run.

Since launching his project, Tembo has gone on to invent a machine that he is using to crush the bottles and glasses into smaller particles which are later mixed with cement and used in blocks, according to Xinhua.

The machine he invented runs on both solar and electricity. When it is running on solar, the machine is able to crush one to two tons of bottles and glasses per day. However, when it is running on electricity, it has the capacity to crush five tons per day.

The 38-year-old told Xinhua that the invention of the machine was fueled by his ambition to be able to crush bottles and glasses at an industrial level. He also plans to expand his idea to other parts of Zambia.

“I have a big picture of the machine. I already have the technical drawings of how I want the machine to be but all I need is capital. Everything is already in place and all I need is funding and documentation,” he said.

The country’s environment agency has welcomed his idea, saying that his innovation needs to be supported.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: June 24, 2022


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