Construction of a Building and ALL Furniture and Site Amenities with Only Recycled Plastics

Construction of a Building and ALL Furniture and Site Amenities with Only Recycled Plastics

Purpose: to demonstrate that solutions exist for a wide variety of valuable products – including construction structural elements can be reliably, rapidly and repeatedly built using waste PE and PET with equipment and processes that can be built and developed in community. 

Motivation: less than 10% of plastics is recycled today leading to catastrophic environmental damage.  Plastic is not recycled because the effort and cost to collect,  transport and then prepare for reprocessing in the same systems used for virgin materials is prohibitive. 

Solution:  The Association of Waste Pickers researched the opportunities that are offered by waste – with 30% being plastics.  The result was the implementation of a simple effective HIGH volume plastic upcycling system that results in VALUABLE products.  All work is done at the site of collection or generation so transportation costs and pollution are eliminated. 

Implementation:  Started 8 months ago in Nairobi; currently 2 tonnes of plastic a week are being processed at the Waste Free 23 micro recycling centers in Nairobi.  The centers were created and are owned and operated by the community they serve.  They are making and selling or using a variety of products including trays, 15 liter bins, 200 liter bins, shelving, fence posts and roof panels.   New micro recycling centers are being launched in Nairobi landfills, and in communities in Malawi, Sierra Leone, and Uganda as well as many communities in Kenya,

The Materials and Equipment  to construct a building and site amenities:

  • 1 tonne of mixed plastic waste per 15 sq meters of building or equivalent
  • A solar and or electric powered heat press that can upcycle 20kg of plastic an hour
  • Simple pattern molds for roof panels, pavers, bricks, posts
  • Plastic slicer, shredder, PET cord cutter, hand tools, heat gun, heat plate
  • Clay or Dung as needed to cover walls
  • Sand or ground glass to cover roof panels – if desired
  • Food safe chemicals to create fire resistant coating on plastic products if desired

Estimated cost for equipment:  $3,000 USD

Estimated manpower to build a 150 sq meter building, perimeter fence and 100 tables and chairs:  24 manmonths – 24 people working one month or any  combination

Estimated mixed waste needed 10 tonnes all plastic or 30 tonnes mixed normal household waste

Stud / siding / stucco design


Alternatively walls can be made of blocks from upcycle plastic – all else remains the same