This Colombian invention is not something new, but it does constitute a novel initiative as a solidarity project. Its raw material, bricks made from recycled plastic, could create homes for millions of homeless people.
They are not as cheap as those made by 3D printers, as we saw in a previous post, but their price is affordable in comparative terms . That is, compared to the usual price of a home. And the results look great, it’s durable and allows for very similar constructions to conventional ones.
Mutatis mutandis, they are built as if it were a Lego-type game, without even the need for cement, but the thing is much more serious. Not surprisingly, we are talking about creating dignified dwellings that solve one of the most important problems that people have. Fundamentally, due to its prohibitive prices , impossible to assume for the most humble groups of the world population .
- Low cost plastic bricks
- Ecoinclusion: PET and cement bricks
Low cost plastic bricks
Plastics concepts is the father of the child, some bricks of plastic recycling are performed after pulverizing and compacting to adopt the form that can be seen in the images. They are then assembled to form the different parts of the house.
It is the solution to a growing problem, up to 40 percent of the population in parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America are homeless. The cost of housing is calculated per kilo of plastic processed and not per square meter. One of 40 square meters would cost about 4,500 euros.
In general, an average house needs around 1,300 bricks, all of them entirely made of plastic. According to its creators, Cristina Gámez, Óscar Méndez and Fernando Llanos, plastic must go through a transformation process that includes grinding, bonding, casting and extrusion, in this order.
Although its placement is simple, it requires intermediate elements that act as a beam, as well as different finishes for the manufacture of the windows. Therefore, many expenses are avoided, since only recycled plastic is used, lowering the final price.
Although the manufacture of the bricks itself is complex and expensive. The bottom line, however, is really worth it economically and environmentally. Above all, in countries like Colombia, where this type of solution is urgently needed to help homeless people.
Specifically, they are building houses for solidarity organizations (NGOs or foundations) or houses commissioned by people who want to donate them. Likewise, helping with the collection of plastic is also another way to help build houses, without the need to contribute money.
Among other advantages, they are very durable homes , with an estimated life of around 400 years, which isolate from the outside at thermal and acoustic level, in addition to being resistant to earthquakes of up to 9.5 degrees, to the damage that rodents can do. , to water and fire, explains Méndez.
Its price is around 4,500 euros and its construction is feasible in less than a week for 4 people, without the need for specialized knowledge. Another reason why the final cost is more affordable.
The project has just received an award that is much more than recognition, since the Chivas Venture contest has considered it to be one of the best business ideas, capable of making a great change in the world, supporting it with 1,000 million Dollars.
In the future, they will consider applying the model in other countries. For now, the objective is to focus on his country, where some 1,500 square meters have already been built, although construction companies interested in applying the project in other countries have already emerged.
Now, with the injection of money that the award supposes they will be able to accelerate the work. A feasible goal, as long as they have the necessary support from the plastic industries and the public, as a constant stockpile of material is required. In this sense, people are also being encouraged through different collection points throughout Bogotá.
Ecoinclusion: PET and cement bricks
As we indicated at the beginning of the post, there are other similar initiatives. Among them, the one carried out by the Ecoinclusión foundation for use in Argentina. Despite their differences, they also have a lot in common.
Specifically, in the Alta Gracia municipality to fix flaws in precarious houses or make renovations that help its inhabitants improve their quality of life. Therefore, it also seeks to benefit families that cannot meet the expenses that would be incurred in other ways.
In this case, in addition, ecological work is carried out. Since PET waste is used for its manufacture, which comes from non- returnable containers collected through containers specially designed for this purpose.
As explained from the foundation, 10 two-liter plastic bottles are needed to manufacture a brick, which after crushing is mixed with cement, and its cost is somewhat higher than that of conventional brick.
However, the environmental benefit is valued, since we avoid damage to the environment (PET takes around 500 years to decompose) while saving on raw materials that are polluting. Finally, the project also received an award. The awarding of the award for the best sustainable Latin American project of the Ilumno university network recognized its dual solidarity side, both with people in need and with the environment.
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