Transforming Urban Plastic Garbage into Building Materials (Plastic Timbers) by EcoAct Tanzania
A chemical free and energy conserving technology to recycle and transform plastic garbage into plastic timber for building and construction
Summary / Résumé
We have developed a chemical free, energy conserving plastic extrusion technology called “Waxy technology” to recycle and transform post consumer plastic garbage and packaging materials into durable and long lasting plastic timbers, Plastic timbers are affordable alternative to wood timbers, hence reduces the need for building material manufactured from wood, helping to preserve forests, cut down on deforestation and further mitigation of climate change. The plastic timbers which are ideal product for building, construction and furniture making are normally made in 10ft on average and shaped either round or square. Our technology is environmental friendly, that uses natural profiled waxy ( from the bees) inversion in the plastic extrusion process set at different temperatures, the technology helps plastic materials of different polymers reach their melting point quickly while retaining their original stability and strength, hence low energy consumption resulting to low production costs, enabling production of plastic timber which are 32% less compared to price of wood timber, the technology converts more than 12 different types of plastics and packaging materials, producing durable, long lasting, termite resistant plastic timbers used in building and construction estimated to last more than 60 years without replacement whether used in sunny areas, marine or in water applications. We are simply the pioneer of chemical free and energy conserving plastic extrusion technology in Africa.
What actions do you propose? / Quelles actions proposez-vous?
Every year more than 9 million tones of plastic garbage end up in our oceans causing threat to marine life, and by the year 2050 there could be more plastics than fish in the ocean, Plastic pollution doesn't just hurt marine species. It's also harmful to people. As plastic debris floats in the seawater, it absorbs dangerous pollutants like PCBs, DDT and PAH. These chemicals are highly toxic and have a wide range of chronic effects, including endocrine disruption and cancer-causing mutations. Practically solid waste management is one of the environmental problems that most African cities are struggling to manage. As the number of residents in most cities is increasing so is the production of solid waste. Very unfortunate, effective environmental and sustainable measures to manage the waste are lacking. For example our country generates about 14,800 tones waste every day of which 48% is plastic waste and packaging materials. Plenty of these solid wastes can be found everywhere within the city and round homes, streets ending to oceans. While both the local administrators and environmental legal bodies understands the health risks involved, the lack of financial and technological capability has left the city residents grasping for help.
On the other hand, Deforestation is a big problem, a 2015 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimated that Earth's total forest area continues to decrease at about 13 million hectares per year. In our country we saw our forests are fast depleting, the growing demand for timber in building and construction activities was putting a lot of pressure on the country’s forests reserves and natural forests around Mount Kilimanjaro (Our country loses about 400,000 hectares of forest every year). If nothing was done quickly, our country would suffer irreparable environmental damage. But we realized that If only we could produce an alternative product to timber that was strong, longer lasting, cheaper and environmentally sustainable, we could definitely profit from the profitable timber market while helping to save forests and preventing plastic waste and packaging materials ending into oceans.
Which types of stakeholders are involved, in which way? / Quels types de parties prenantes sont impliqués, de quelle façon?
Our main stakeholders are the community members as well as the youths in marginalized communities.
How could the actions be scaled up at the neighborhood or city level? / Comment serait-il possible d'augmenter la portée des actions à l'échelle des quartiers ou de la ville?
Our project can be replicate in any other regions because the plastic garbage pollution and deforestation is a global issues and a common problem in most developing and developed cities. We have developed a manual which details all the necessary activities and production process so as to make it easy to implement same kind of project to other areas with plastic pollution to oceans and threat to deforestation.
What impact will these actions have on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change? / Quels impacts auront ces actions sur la réduction des émissions de gaz à effet de serre et l'adaptation aux changements climatiques?
Every year the project ensures the withdraw of over 15.5 million kilograms of plastic garbage from the environment and prevented them from ending up into oceans, and used those plastic garbage to manufacture plastic timbers, hence save an estimated 850 acres of forest that would have been cut and same time prevent 6,500,000 kg of CO2 emissions further mitigating climate change.
What are the other environmental, economic or social benefits? / Quels sont les autres bénéfices environnementaux, économiques et sociaux?
On environmental Impacts we enhance waste management in urban areas through recycling, over 360 tons has been lifted from landfills in the past 12 months, we promote environmental conservation through reducing the need of timber for deforestation also we reduce carbon emissions from landfills and from deforestation.
On economic impacts we produce long-lasting, insect resistant, theft free and thermal resistant products that are low cost for consumers, creating income and replication potential as local value chain from bio-waste that is generating jobs and increasing customer's disposable
On social Impacts: we employ locals in the sourcing and production of our products, providing training opportunities and skills for vulnerable women and youths, educating the public on recycling practices and alternative, sustainable energy sources. Furthermore we have launched, “Garbage Medical Insurance” which is a micro health insurance program which uses garbage as a financial resource. With this program, the community and uninsured poor slum dwellers are able to pay for health cover, drugs and other clinical services by using garbage as payment to an insurance scheme.
What are the most innovative aspects and main strengths of this approach? / Quels sont les aspects novateurs et les principales forces de cette approche?
Normally the plastic extrusion process takes time, which increases energy consumption and increases production costs; this has been a major challenge to many plastic extrusion facilities in Europe that has forced those facilities to use chemicals to speed up the extrusion process, the chemical that in turn pollutes the environment.
We have developed a chemical free, and energy conserving plastic extrusion technology called “Waxy technology” The technology solves both issues, uses natural substance – natural profiled waxy (from the bees) which are inverted during the extrusion process set at different temperature, helping plastic materials of different polymers reach their melting point quickly while retaining their original stability and strength, hence low energy consumption resulting to low production costs. We are simply the pioneer of chemical free and energy conserving plastic extrusion technology in Africa.
What are the proposal’s projected costs? / Quels sont les coûts projetés de la proposition?
What are the potential challenges or obstacles? / Quels sont les défis ou les obstacles potentiels?
About the authors / À propos des auteur(e)s
I am a social entrepreneur, passionate about environment, recycling and green living with a strong background in project Management, Business and Marketing. I am a founder of EcoAct Tanzania a for?profit social enterprise that uses an innovative plastic extrusion technology called “ waxy 2 technology” to recycles and transform post consumer waste plastics into plastic lumbers, which is a durable and affordable alternative to timber. I conceived the idea in 2016 with the aim of creating a sustainable solution to the growing urban plastic waste and the increasing deforestation rates of our natural forests and forest reserves around Mount Kilimanjaro.