Blog

A Nairobi entrepreneur recycles plastic waste into bricks that are more durable than concrete

If you

design

#bricks
#Plastic
#Recycling
# Sustainability

February 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

If you

Together we use an amazing amount of Single use plastic Every year – we buy a million plastic bottles every minute worldwide – most of them end up in landfills, in the oceans and in other natural spaces. Nzambi Matee, a 29-year-old entrepreneur from Nairobi, is fighting this global crisis by recycling bags, bins and other waste products into bricks that can be used in patios and other construction projects.

Before starting your company Gjenge MakersMatee worked as a data analyst and engineer for the oil industry. After encountering plastic rubbish on the streets of Nairobi, she decided to quit her job and set up a small laboratory in her mother’s back yard to test sand and plastic combinations. Matee eventually received a scholarship to study in the materials laboratory at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she eventually developed a prototype for the machine that is now making the textured bricks.

The paving stones made from a combination of plastic and sand have a melting point of more than 350 ° C and are more durable than their concrete counterparts. Matee and her team source a large part of the raw material from factories and recyclers. Sometimes it’s free, which allows the company to lower the price of the product and make it affordable for schools and homeowners. So far, Gjenge Makers has recycled more than 20 tons of plastic and created 112 jobs in the community.

“It is absurd that we still have the problem of providing adequate protection – a basic human need,” Matee said in a statement. “Plastic is a material that is misused and misunderstood. The potential is enormous, but its afterlife can be disastrous. “

The company currently produces between 1,000 and 1,500 stones per day, and Matee hopes to expand across Africa. You can see more of Gjenge Makers’ production and completed projects Instagram. (over Design boom)

Nzambi Matee. All images via Gjenge Makers

#bricks
#Plastic
#Recycling
# Sustainability

Are such stories and artists important to you? To become something Colossal member and support independent art publishers. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art and support ours Interview series, get access to partner discounts and much more. Join now!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *