This house might look like it’s made from bricks and mortar, but it’s actually made from plastic. And not just any plastic - waste plastic that’s hard to recycle.
Conceptos Plásticos is a slightly simple name for a small start-up that’s hoping to achieve so much. The Colombian business transforms plastic and rubber waste into permanent and temporary housing, shelters, classrooms and community halls.
Not only does this divert waste from landfills, but it provides much-needed building materials for impoverished communities in Colombia.
“We are mitigating global warming and helping to close the extreme poverty gap with a solution that has a high, social, environmental and economic impact,” says co-founder Oscar Andres Mendez.
“The plastic waste we recycle is melted and poured into a mould to produce plastic blocks that work like Lego pieces, allowing whole communities and families to play a part in the easy constructing of their own homes.”
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The materials are also fire and earthquake resistant, and Mendez is keen to provide training for communities to construct their own buildings.
“A house for one family takes four people, with no construction experience, just five days to build,” he adds. “A shelter for 14 families takes 15 people, with no construction experience, only 10 days to build.”
The social start-up recently won $300,000 at the final of a global competition called ‘The Venture,’ which is run by Chivas Regal and aims to find the most innovative start-ups across the world.
Thanks to the cash injection, Mendez is hoping to develop his business.
“We are going to give solutions to many people,” he says. “We will improve all of our processes and increase our capacity. We want to replicate our business model in other countries.”