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Turning waste in to a future

Tom tomgriff

Turning waste in to a future

17/07/2019 at 12:11

So, just starting with a little context – I founded Plastic-Free Liverpool in 2018, I wanted to help reduce plastic pollution in the city of Liverpool and wasn’t sure how, I decided on an awareness building campaign. The first few events went well however it tended to be the same people turning up and generally the people who were coming were already aware of the problem – therefore we weren’t reaching the people who needed reaching.
PFL went on the back-burner while I was working on a few other projects.

Late last year I went on a charity trek up Kilimanjaro – the walk was very tough and incredible but one thing you couldn’t escape, even at the highest point in Africa was the plastic waste. Once the hike was completed we were shown around local orphanages who were looking for donations to keep their doors open – a very eye opening experience for us all.
Anyway, the thought of the plastic waste and the orphanages stayed with me for several months and a few thoughts and ideas started forming. Can I turn their waste problem in to a solution to help the local community. I reached out to my Kilimanjaro group which has now formed the K18 project and are working closely with a local community in Tanzania to provide the educational needs for orphanages.
My ambitious plan is to turn as much of the plastic waste found on the beaches of Tanzania, general waste and the plastic waste brought by the Kilimanjaro trekkers (mainly plastic bottles) in to free and easily accessible building materials to build a school for orphans.
The orphanages and local community are on board, and we have plans in place for the provision of the education. So my step is to create moulded bricks out of the plastic waste for the actual school building.
After a discussion with an engineer who runs a local plastic recycling workshop (Plastic Tactics) I am now thinking an extruder would be the best method once I have collected the raw materials and shredded them.
I have zero experience in chemistry, construction or engineering so this a a big leap of faith to me therefore I am relying on the experience and expertise of others to help me.
My first step is to create a prototype brick to run feasibility tests and run a proof of concept test, once this is done I need to either use someone else’s extruder or create my own (first in the UK and then in Tanzania) to start the whole project off.
I need help!! Any recommendations, tips and advice on where to start are really appreciated!

***Please note the bricks will not be used for load-bearing walls as all bricks I have reseached, while strong, are not structurally strong enough to bear the weight of a roof. Therefore the bricks will be used as dividing walls, garden walls, insulation etc***

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13/08/2019 at 10:53

Nice story.  I’ve done what your are thinking about.

That is, create a brick for building out of waste using a technology that unskill communities can operate themselves. I need partners and NGO’s who can appropriate funds to make this happen..  there are plenty of crisis points around the world where this sort of operation would be a useful contribution.
Give me a mail if you want to pursue it.


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