The Mexican company EcoDomum has come up with a unique and very sustainable way of providing affordable housing for the less fortunate. They are manufacturing roofs and wall panels using discarded plastic, which they use to build homes with the help of a local housing programs. The end result is a large number of sustainable homes measuring about 430 sq ft that only cost around $280 each.
The panels made from plastic waste are about eight feet long and four feet wide, and one inch thick. According to the company they are very durable, as well as impermeable. They are also affordable, while the company can produce around 120 of them per day at their factory. In this way, they transform about 5.5 tons of discarded plastic into building materials per day. To construct a home, eight of these panels are used, which offsets around 2 tons of plastic waste. Each home can be constructed in a week.
The process of building these homes starts with the collection of a wide range of plastic waste ranging from bottles to toys. Next, they sift through the plastic they collected to eliminate all the pieces that would emit harmful fumes when melted. Once this is done, they chop up the plastic using a special machine. These pieces are then put in an oven, which is heated up to more than 600 degrees Fahrenheit (350 degrees Celsius). It takes about half an hour to melt all the plastic, which is then passed through a hydraulic press that compresses and crystallizes the plastic into panels.
The company works directly with local trash collectors, paying them higher wages to ensure the constant supply of the plastic raw materials. In this way, the project has far reaching benefits since it works to boost the local economy as well as provide affordable housing. Not to mention the amount of harmful plastic that is recycled in this way.
To date, they have constructed over five hundred homes across Mexico, and already have contracts to build several hundred more. This year the company plans to expand it’s facilities to cover the entire country.