A scientist in Kenya has a unique initiative to tackle plastic waste in the country, which is to turn them into bricks to build houses.
Brick made from plastic waste
Hundreds of tons of plastic waste are thrown away every day in the Kenyan capital. Just outside Nairobi is the Dandora landfill with an area the size of 22 football fields. CBS News (USA) reported that despite banning single-use plastics, Kenya still cannot get rid of them. Dandora is at the threshold of overcrowding while scheduled to be closed 20 years ago.
But a young scientist named Nzambi Matee found a creative way to solve this problem. She pays particular attention to the property of plastic to float in water. “I came up with the idea of using plastic to make bricks,” explains Matee.
Matee shared about the production stages of recycled plastic bricks. The first is to separate plastic waste from other types. Next is the step of melting the plastic and pouring it into the mold. Matee said it took her 9 months to research and produce a brick from plastic waste. After that, she embarked on creating machines to mass produce plastic waste bricks with a capacity of 2,000 bricks per day. Plastic waste bricks are 35% cheaper than regular plastic but are 7 times stronger. Matee hopes that through her actions, the mountain of garbage in Dandora will become a ‘hill’.
Dandora landfill in Nairobi, Kenya.
Kenya’s fight against plastic waste is not confined to the country. Two years ago, the US exported over 500,000 tons of plastic waste to 96 countries, including Kenya. The US now wants to increase the amount of plastic waste it exports to Kenya based on a proposed trade deal. But environmental activist at Greenpeace – Amos Wemanya said that Kenya is still not able to handle the amount of plastic waste in the country, not to mention recycling for US plastic waste.
Matee meanwhile argues that countries should deal with domestic plastic waste themselves. She also added: ‘The more plastic we recycle, the more jobs there will be for young people’.
Source: World Plastic Magazine