The alarming increase of plastic waste is a constant worry that affects the environment, wildlife and consequently, humans. Every year, millions of tons of plastic is accumulated and all of that takes around 500 years to decompose. Faced with this problem, the Argentinian researcher Rosana Gaggino from the National Council of Scientific and Technological Research (CONICET) and her team designed a process that recycles discarded plastic bottles turning them into construction “ecological bricks” (ladrillos ecológicos).
The manufacturing process is very simple because, unlike conventional bricks (made of cement and sand), it replaces the sand for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic particles. The use of PET bottles in construction has expanded greatly in recent years, and these bricks represent a breakthrough in the construction industry because they have heat insulation properties 5 times greater than that of conventional bricks. In addition to that, they are much lighter, have higher resistance to fire and can build thinner walls. Each ecological brick uses 20 plastic bottles, creating an ecological alternative to conventional bricks which consume fertile soil, wood and pollute the air. These bricks have already been used in test-built houses and it has been government approved for use in public housing.