It’s true that we are living in a time of environmental crisis, where tons (300 million tons, to be exact) of plastics are produced every year and just a small part of it is ever recycled. But it’s also true that we have the capacity to make things better. And the Columbian construction company Conceptos Plasticos has found a creative way to do so – by recycling plastic trash and turning it into brand new houses.
The first step of building a plastic house is making the bricks. The team of Conceptos Plasticos collects, washes, melts carefully selected plastic trash and then fills moulds with the raw material. As a final product they get grey plastic bricks, which are the ones that the houses are made of. The recycling process happens to be 30% cheaper than traditional construction and it takes just 4 people and about 5 days to complete a whole house. The only disadvantage of the material is that the usual life cycle of a plastic piece is around 500 years. Still, until the plastic starts biodegrading, the bricks and the construction of the houses are sturdy, durable and impermeable, so they could resist all weather conditions and even an earthquake.
Conceptos Plasticos was founded in 2011. At first, the main idea behind the project was to work towards a cleaner environment. But after a while, the team realized their positive social impact too – hundreds of homeless people in Columbia are now living in recycled plastic homes thanks to Conceptos Plasticos and the financial support from the Columbian government and numerous NGOs which support the idea for a greener planet, healthier environment and fewer homeless people.
Apart from providing homes for Columbia’s rural and remote communities, another of the company’s goals is to empower the members of these communities to get involved in the building of their houses. And that could develop the social affiliation and sense of responsibility of the people.