Affordable Plastic Waste Bricks That Are Stronger Than Concrete

Materials engineer Nzambi Matee—the founder of Nairobi-based Gjenge Makers—not only invented a brick made from plastic waste that’s stronger than concrete, but she also set up the factory after losing patience waiting for government funding. The bricks are made from a blend of discarded high-density polyethylene (traditionally used for products like shampoo bottles), low-density polyethylene (plastic bags) and polypropylene (used for tougher items like buckets)—all of which is acquired for free. Costing just 850 Kenyan shillings (about $7.70) per square meter, the bricks are affordable to make and buy, and are five to seven times stronger than concrete—a remarkably wasteful material to create. Since 2017, Gjenge Makers has recycled 20 tons of plastic waste, created 100+ jobs and has plans to expand—again without assistance from the government. “I was tired of being on the sidelines,” Matee says. Read more at Reuters.

Image courtesy of REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya