Sustainable Brick ‘Silica Plastic Block’ is Made from Recycled Plastic and Sand
Rhino Machines, an Indian company, has launched a sustainable alternative to the traditional brick called the silica plastic block that is made from recycled plastic waste and sand. For this project, Rhino Machines collaborated with architectural firm R + D Studio.
The ‘silica plastic block’ or SPB aims to minimize dust waste and plastic pollution in India, which has created a severe environmental hazard.
The directive behind the SPB project was of producing zero waste from the sand retrieval plant in Rhino Machines foundry plant. Initial stages experimented with the product’s formation by using foundry dust in cement-bonded fly ash bricks (7-10 percent waste recycled) and clay bricks (15 percent waste recycled). Various other natural elements such as cement, fertile soil and water were also required for the experimentation.
The in-house R&D team researched more on variables used in the making of the SPB, which revealed a possibility of bonding the sand or foundry dust with plastic. The need for water during the mixing process was completely eliminated, as the plastic worked flawlessly as a bonding agent. The blocks can be directly used after cooling down from the moulding progression.
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The SPBs have 2.5 times the strength of normal red clay bricks, while they need 70 to 80 percent of the foundry dust with 80 percent fewer natural resources.
In a time period of over four months, various industries such as hospitals, societies, individuals, social organisations and local municipal corporations were approved to provide clean plastic for this project. Overall, six tonnes of plastic waste and sixteen tonnes of dust and sand from the foundry industry were collected and were recycled to make SPBs.
As these bricks are entirely made out of waste, the production cost can easily compete with the generally available red clay bricks or the concrete masonry unit.
Rhino Machines is now striving to create an ecosystem solution that would help the foundries across the nation to develop and distribute the SPBs within their influence zones via CSR, corporate social responsibility – a government of India initiative for businesses to undertake humanitarian causes and give back to the community.
The silica plastic block could be used to build walls, toilets, school campuses, health clinics, pavers or driveways.