What’s stronger than concrete bricks? Plastic bricks! We’re not talking about Lego here. This plastic brick invention design comes from Nairobi-based Gjenge Makers. Astoundingly, these plastic building materials are up to five to seven times more durable than concrete bricks. Their mission? To provide sustainable and affordable alternative building materials. At the same time, they aim to promote a recycling culture in their country and create job opportunities for youth and women.
Gjenge Makers | A Sustainable Future, Brick by Brick
Founded in 2018, their original goal was to create a plastics collection company that would then sort and sell the plastic. They quickly realized they were collecting plastic at a much higher rate than they could redistribute. What were they to do with all this extra waste?
Gjenge Makers takes the plastic waste, mixes it with sand, heats it, and then compresses it into a brick. They’ve recycled over 20 tonnes of various plastics including high and low-density polyethylene plastic. We can find both types of plastics in products we use every day. Shampoo bottles and fuel tanks often have high-density polyethylene exteriors. While low-density polyethylene can be found in more flexible plastic products such as plastic bags and squeeze bottles. However, they do not use polyethylene terephthalate or PET, the type of plastic in food and beverage containers.
Today, they produce about 1,500 durable plastic bricks every day in varying sizes. Their bricks come in three types, 30mm light-duty paver, 40mm moderate-duty paver, and 60mm heavy-duty paver. The light-duty paver offers double the strength of regular concrete blocks. These are designed for lining walkways, paths, and household compounds. The 40mm moderate-duty paver is best for commercial buildings. Lastly, their 60mm heavy-duty paver is designed for roads and places that operate heavy machinery.
The best thing about this story is that they’ve already used this plastic brick invention design in a number of real-world applications such as building a training facility and a residential compound. To learn about their projects, click here.
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