Colombian artist Oscar Mendez devised a way to put discarded plastic trash to good use – he is using them to build houses, that too for just $280! He, along with his colleagues Henry Cañon and Isabel Cristina, decided to tackle two major problems faced by most cities in Latin America – ever increasing plastic trash in landfills and affordable housing for booming populations – with one amazing solution.
His company, Conceptos Plásticos transforms plastic and rubber waste into a construction material, and uses it to build houses for those who need it, across Colombia. They visit schools and community groups to encourage them to collect various waste plastics and old tires. The materials are thoroughly cleaned, before being ground into a rough power, mixed, melted and extruded into a range of shapes – mostly beams, blocks and pillars – which lock together to form buildings.
Like LEGO blocks, these interlocking structures don’t need adhesive to be strong and sturdy, which makes them a good option for mobile shelters. And yes, the plastic mix will eventually biodegrade, but not for more than 100 years. Until then, it offers residents a durable shelter that, thanks to its construction and materials, is fireproof and earthquake-resistant, and requires minimal maintenance.
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