A company in Colombia is tackling plastic waste issues and affordable housing with a single ingenious solution: interlocking LEGO-like bricks that can be used to build houses for a few thousand dollars per structure. Walls are formed using a slim slotted brick then framed using a thicker module used for beams and columns, locking the smaller units into place and providing rigid vertical and lateral support.
Conceptos Plásticos is addressing their technology to rising populations of urban poor, families with the time but not financial means or materials to construct their own dwellings. The company works with locals to source plastic and create all kinds of spaces, including emergency shelters, community and educational buildings.
The upcycled plastic blocks are easy to use and require no construction experience. They are durable, fire- and earthquake-resistant and much cheaper than other available materials. The company estimates the lifespan of the blocks at 500 years.
“We hope to create a movement where more and more people get involved,” say the company founders. “We want to develop new products that make better use of the thousands and thousands of tons of plastic that is discarded.”
“There will soon be more plastic in the sea than fish, so we really need to do something big.” Recent projects using this novel material include a hostel for displaced victims of violence in the Colombian countryside.