A 29-year-old woman in Nairobi, Kenya found a way to turn single-use plastic waste into bricks. The bricks are 7X stronger than concrete and can be used to pave roads, driveways, and more.
The inventor, Nzambi Matee, started a company from her idea called Gjenge Makers. Her company accepts single-use plastic waste that would normally end up in landfills and creates usable, practical, strong bricks.
The bricks are primarily sold to individuals, schools, and companies to pave roads and driveways.
Matee’s company turn discarded plastic bottle tops, cooking oil container, and other single-use plastic products into the bricks.
Each day they can produce around 1,500 bricks, that are not only high-quality but also affordable.
They use special machines that compress the plastic into brick and can create three different types: Heavy Duty, Moderate, and Light.
“Plastic is a material that is misused and misunderstood. The potential is enormous, but its afterlife can be disastrous,” Matee said.
Kenya’s Fight Against Plastic Pollution
As a country, Kenya has been a leader in fighting to reduce single-use plastic.
Back in 2017, they banned all plastic bags. But unlike in California, that ban was firm. Travelers to Kenya would have any plastic bags confiscated at the airport. All plastic carrier bags were banned from being manufactured, sold, or distributed in the country.
More recently in 2020, Kenya prohibited using single-use plastic in protected areas, like national parks and beaches.
Though the initiatives are excellent, the country (and rest of the world) face an urgent situation regarding plastic waste and need the deeper innovation as seen with Gjenge Makers.
As Matee noted, Nairobi alone produces around 500 metric tonnes of plastic waste every single day. That’s about 15,000 tonnes per month in that one city alone.
The Future of Plastic
A 2018 United Nations report estimated that 13 million tonnes of plastic waste are released into the oceans each year. What we’re currently doing isn’t working fast enough to make a great enough impact – but Matee’s bricks may play a massive role in slowing our rate of plastic pollution.
Every brick they create provides an affordable and valuable resource to those in need of roads and walkways while reducing a bit of the world’s waste. It’s possible that the plastic bricks could be used to make shelters and provide in other ways beyond roads.
Watch the video below:
What do you think of Matee’s genius invention? Let us know!