Kenyan Woman Recycles Plastic Waste into Bricks Sturdier than Concrete
Plastic waste is burdening the planet, and there is no way to properly dispose of the non-biodegradable material. To help the planet deal with the plastic pollution problem, a Kenyan woman recycles plastic waste into bricks that are sturdier than concrete.
The founder of Nairobi-based Gjenge Makers, Nzambi Matee has been transforming plastic waste into durable building materials. She says,
Our product is almost five to seven times stronger than concrete. There is that waste they cannot process anymore; they cannot recycle. That is what we get.
Matee sources the waste from packaging factories for free, although she pays for the plastic she receives from other recyclers. Her factory produces 1,500 bricks each day, made from a mixture of various kinds of plastic.
The materials used in the brick making are high-density polyethylene, used in milk and shampoo bottle; low-density polyethylene, often used for bags for cereals or sandwiches; and polypropylene, used for ropes, flip-flop lids, and buckets.
The plastic waste is mixed with sand, heated, and then compressed into bricks, which are sold at varying prices, depending on thickness and color. For instance, their common grey bricks cost 850 Kenyan shillings ($7.70) per square meter.
Matee, a materials engineer who designed her own machines, said her factory has recycled 20 tons of waste plastic since its founding in 2017. She plans to add another, a much bigger production line that could triple the production and hopes to break even by year-end.
Matee established her factory after she got tired of waiting for the government to solve the plastic pollution problem. The planet could really use more such inspirational people to rid it of the humongous plastic waste.