A woman in Kenya has started a company manufacturing bricks from recycled plastic which are stronger than concrete.
Nzambi Matee is the founder of Gjenge Makers which transforms plastic waste into durable building materials. Matee says she was “tired of being on the sidelines” while civil servants struggled against plastic waste in the capital city of Nairobi, so she got to work and created a product that is 5 to 7 times stronger than concrete.
Getting dumps of plastic low and high-density polyethylene and polypropylene from local packaging plants for free, Gjenge Makers produces a variety of different paving stones after the plastic polymer is heated and mixed with sand.
“There is waste they cannot process anymore; they cannot recycle. That is what we get,” Matee told Reuters.
The materials are pressed in a hydraulic machine into different thicknesses, that sell in a variety of colors that cost an average of $7.70 per square meter.
She designed all the machines that manufacture the bricks in her factory and has employed more than 110 people. She has also recycled about 20 metric tons of plastic waste since the company was founded in 2018.