these houses by conceptos plásticos are built with blocks made from waste plastic

Feb 09, 2021

everyday, bogotá, colombia, sees 740 tons of plastic waste that could take around 300 years to degrade and we’re quite sure the situation is the same in different parts of the world. thankfully, a start up in colombia is trying to mitigate the negative environmental impact of waste plastic by transforming it into an alternative construction material. created by fernando llanos and architect oscar mendez, conceptos plásticos — plastic concepts — is based on the transformation of plastic residues and rubber in pieces like blocks, which are used for housing construction.

‘the objective of plastic concepts is to answer to different problematic that affect the community nowadays, contributing at the same time with the reduction of the pollution that plastic residues have on the environment and his incident on the global warming,’ said ricardo rico, business manager, conceptos plásticos.

conceptos plásticos empowers communities of recyclers around the world, starting in colombia all the way to africa. to create the LEGO-like building blocks, they use plastics that not everyone recycles and others that are difficult to dispose of. each type of plastic gives the bricks a different property, so they are mixed in different ways to obtain the desired product. the resulting bricks are easy to assemble, durable and inexpensive. they are also stronger than traditional construction materials; are thermo-acoustic, meaning they can be used in both hot and cold weather; they are also anti-seismic; and do not spread flames.

‘at first, it happens to us everywhere that people say: a plastic house! and think of a bag, people associate plastic with a bag. so they think that by bringing a lighter closer, it will ignite and that by putting a finger through it it will break. when they see the product and how solid it is, they realize and begin to weigh in a different way, then breaking that initial barrier for the user is very easy,’ oscar méndez comments.

in 2019, conceptos plásticos partnerted with UNICEF to develop a factory to convert plastic waste in côte d’ivoire into modular, easy-to-assemble, low-cost plastic bricks for classrooms. ‘this project is more than just a waste management and education infrastructure project; it is a functioning metaphor—the growing challenge of plastic waste turned into literal building blocks for a future generation of children,’ concluded UNICEF representative aboubacar kampo.

interested in how plastic is being used around the world as a building material? see another project in kenya on designboom here.

project info:

name: conceptos plásticos