A Kenyan woman is turning tons of plastic trash into super durable, lightweight bricks that cost a tenth of the price of normal bricks
29-year-old Kenyan inventor Nzambi Matee was tired of tripping over plastic in her home city of Narobi, which generates over 500 tons of plastic waste a day, only a small fraction of which is recycled.
“We decided what more can we do, instead of just sitting on the sidelines complaining,” she said in a video.
So she started a company that turns plastic “trash into cash” by transforming it into super strong, but super lightweight bricks.
“Essentially companies have to pay to dispose of their waste, so we solved their problem”… by taking in off their hands for free.
Matee’s company, Gjenge Makers, only uses plastic that cannot be further recycled or was never recyclable in the first place, such as cereal and sandwich bags, shampoo and milk bottles, flip-top lids, ropes, and buckets.
The plastic is shredded, mixed with sand, put through a high-temperature extrusion machine that makes it into a slurry, and then compressed into beautiful, colorful bricks.
The bricks are 7 times as strong as concrete, but only half the weight, making them easier to transport and work with.
They also cost only about a tenth of what normal bricks cost to make, making them very affordable building materials.
So far the bricks are used for driveways, sidewalks, patios and roads, but the company also plans to make bricks for building construction in the near future.
The company has recycled over 20 tons of plastic waste to date, and expects that number to be at 50 tons by the end of the year.