Kenyan entrepreneur Nzambi Matee has an amazing goal – to make strong, sustainable building materials from recycled plastic waster. Gjenge Makers creates recycled plastic bricks from commercial facilities’ waste. These bricks can support two times the weight than concrete can.
The company is located in Nairobi in Kenya. The city of Nairobi is suffering from a severe plastic pollution problem. A National Environmental Management Agency (NEMA) supported discovered that over half of the cattle in Kenya’s urban areas had plastic inside their stomachs. The government of Kenya banned plastic bag usage in 2017 as a combative measure. However, the ban is only for the plastic used by consumers. The country still faces a deep problem in commercial plastic waste.
The Recycled Plastic Bricks Are Cheaper And Stronger
Nzambi Matee admitted that she could not bear just watching any longer. So she came up with her own idea of how to deal with commercial waste. She has a materials engineering career, which helped her develop a recycled plastic brick, using sand. It provides a sustainable and strong concrete alternative. The plastic’s fibrous structure makes it less brittle and more lightweight than concrete.
In an interview with Reuters, Matee said that the recycled plastic bricks nearly have 5 to 7 times the strength of concrete. The plastic waste is both purchased from companies that recycle, as well as received as shipments for free from packaging factories in the locality. Presently, the factory of Gjenge Makers has a daily production capacity of 1,500.
Gjenge Makers also offers pavers that can be used for commercial and residential purposes. The 60 mm heavy-duty paver is suitable for roads and parking lots. The lighter 30 mm one is for walkways and household patios. Even the lighter one is two times as strong as concrete.
Since starting in 2017, about 20 tons of plastic have been recycled by the factory, as well as adding 120 jobs for Nairobi. Moreover, recycled plastic bricks are very cost-effective as well, costing almost 12 times lesser than US-imported concrete.
Entrepreneurs such as Matee show that there is still hope for the crisis the world is facing from plastic pollution.