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They provide the same quality standards as concrete, they have great insulating properties and they reduce CO2 production by 95%.
Transforming plastic waste into construction materal. This is the simple and yet revolutionary idea of the American startup ByFusion. The company’s RePlast is a material that can be made with any kind of plastic, including plastic retrieved from the oceans, and provides a valid alternative to concrete blocks with the same quality standards, the same loading capacity, and great acoustic and thermal insulation properties.
ByFusion started to work on this idea years ago, but it was slowed down by many setbacks due to the lack of funds. Now, thanks to an increasing awareness on the issue of plastic in the oceans and with the help of decreasing petrol prices, the company took up this challenge again. The first project the startup has in store is the collection and treatment of plastic marine litter in the Hawaii islands.
The company hopes to be able to replicate this model. “In theory, we’re looking at an absolute definition of a circular economy, whereby plastic waste washing up in local communities gets processed and used in local community centres” says Gregor Gomory, ByFusion CEO.
According to ByFusion, RePlast blocks are perfect for the construction of roads and as construction filling materials. The blocks require no glues or adhesives, they can contribute to LEED certification for construction and they possess a 95% lower greenhouse gas emission footprint when compared to concrete blocks.
ByFusion is only the most recent example of a long series of companies that try to recycle or reuse the plastic waste dispersed in the oceans. The extent of this problem is worrying: the Earth’s oceans are polluted by entire floating islands of plastic litter, and according to the Ellen Mac Arthur Foundation, by 2050 the seas will contain more plastic than fish.