Environmental sustainability is an important issue in regard to natural resources and wastes. The building material industry is finding innovative methods for using construction waste and researchers have tried to produce new construction materials incorporating innovative techniques.. The new generation of building materials is developing on other theories in concordance with the sustainability of the environment on which Hong Kong-based start-up EcoBricks has developed a process to upcycle plastic waste from old washing machines into construction material, reducing carbon emissions
EcoBricks addressing the plastic waste problem
The method to upcycle plastic waste can help resolve Hong Kong’s plastic waste problem by making use of plastic otherwise bound for landfills. The Sino Group-backed company has developed a sustainable process to upcycle unrecyclable plastic waste and use it as an ingredient in paving bricks.
EcoBricks products are manufactured with the use of “problem plastics”, the composite, hybrid plastics that even waste recyclers have to put into landfills. The start-up’s solution found its first use at Sino Group’s Gold Coast Piazza in Tuen Mun, where more than 15,000 EcoBricks were used to pave a promenade. The plastic that went into the bricks came from over 560 old washing machines, equivalent to 5,400kg of plastic waste. EcoBricks can replace up to 50 percent of natural aggregates [in concrete bricks] with waste plastic, which avoids environmental damage and CO2 emissions from mining, processing, and transportation of virgin raw materials.
So far the company has recycled over 21 tonnes of plastic waste destined for landfill. They are now focused on expanding the production capacity to increase the recycling volumes and also meet anticipated demand for sustainable concrete products.
EcoBricks aims to recycle 2,000 to 2,500 tonnes of plastic waste each year in a manufacturing facility that it hopes to open as early as the end of this year, once it finds a suitable location.