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Waste plastic into comfortable homes


Who remembers as a child playing with Lego bricks? Did you make them into little plastic homes for the little Lego people?

Well with plastic being a byword for bad these days, we at UKVending thought it was high time to explore some of the good things that waste plastic is being put to and one of the best is constructing cheap, affordable housing in some of the world’s poorest communities.

Over 700 tons of plastic is discarded in Bogota every single day. It has no value or purpose to those who casually throw it away. These ordinary people cannot change it, adapt it and reuse it without complicated and expensive equipment. The Colombian capital city is not alone in South America with having to face up to the dual challenges of recycling waste plastic and providing suitable housing to its expanding population.

The two seemingly disparate challenges, however, have a common outcome in the form of a small company called Conceptos Plásticos that takes the waste and remoulds it into useful construction materials that is used all across the country. With over 80 percent of Latin American’s living in cities housing is becoming an increasingly urgent problem. The company has gone further than most commercial enterprises as they work closely with schools and community groups to educate people about how to manage the plastic waste they produce.

Once collected the plastic is cleaned before being ground into a powder that can be melted and reshaped into the construction blocks, tubes and other shapes such as beams, pillars and blocks needed to build homes. Conceptos Plásticos then goes one step further still as the company also trains the local communities in how to actually build the buildings themselves and giving valuable skills to people.

Each of the interlocking buildings is easy to construct and costs around $5000. No special skills are needed nor glues.


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