Recycled Plastic Bricks (The EcoBricks)



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About

Nelplast Ghana is a company that transforms waste plastics and sand into durable Eco-friendly bricks that is used in the construction of roads/roofing and building construction – Nelplast employs over 50 direct (factory hands) and 500+ collectors who earn a living in the community in which we operate through waste collection ( Ashaiman, a suburb of Accra notoriously known for high rates of unemployment, poverty, crime and destitution in Ghana) – Today we produce 200 bricks per day.

Nelplast is an environmentally focused company offering a solution that turns plastic waste into durable pavement/building and roofing bricks

Project description

What problem are you trying to solve?

Currently, most products are packaged in polyethylene in Ghana which forms about 70 per cent of the plastic waste in the municipal waste stream. Additionally, over 10,000 metric tons of finished plastic products are imported annually into Ghana. Available records from the city authority, Accra Metropolitan Assembly indicate that out of the over 2,500 tons of waste generated daily, only 1,125 tons representing 45% is collected.

The remaining 55% mainly plastics, remain in the system. Arithmetically, about 501,875 tons of plastics are produced annually. Where do they go? Where do we put 501,875 tons of plastic every year that is specifically designed not to break down? That is where NELPLAST Ghana fills the gap to recycle with its innovation where the EcoBricks created has about 60% of its component forming the binding agent for a brick from waste plastic that has been tested to be is 3times stronger and in a snowball effect get as many as the youth off the streets and Ghana off waste.

What is your solution to this problem?

The company through innovation has come up with a new product, plastic pavement blocks (tiles) for paving compounds of housing, industrial and office facilities, as well as roads. The product is stronger and more durable than existing concrete products in the market. It uses plastic waste, combined with other materials for production. The product has been tested by Ghana Highways Authority and found to be of high quality. The collection of waste plastics and the subsequent recycling of the plastics is an important step in addressing the environmental hazards caused by indiscriminate disposal of plastics.

Nelplast collects (through its community collection brigade) plastics at dumpsites, the environment and transfer stations, separates same, crushes them into pellets, adds sand to it and extrudes (a mixture of sand and the crushed plastics) paste, pressed in an hydraulic press and cooling to form the shapes, designs and configuration. The current strength as tested is approx 40.44Nm.

What is your latest update on your innovation?

1. The Government of Ghana has invited the company to apply for a running government initiatives of building a factory in each of the over 200 districts in Ghana – We are at an advanced stage to receive the nod and be selected to host, expand and employ more youth by a consequence of our expanded capacity to 10,000bricks/day from 200bricks today
2. We were nominated and won the recently held Ghana/United Kingdom Business Association (GUBA) award as the Innovations and Tech company of the year http://www.gubaawards.co.uk/ for 2018 held on the 14th July
3. Nelplast as part of the pilot success where invited to pave the carpark area of the Ghana’s Minister of Environment, Science, Technology & Innovations (MESTI)
4. Nelplast has applied for copyright for its EcoBrick and exploring patenting
5. The EcoBrick has been used to fill pot-holes across Accra as a proof of concept

Team

Nelson Boateng

Philip Owusu-Gyamfi

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