A plastic recycling company based out of Ghana, South Africa has found an alternative solution to the country’s plastic pollution problem. Nelplast Ghana Limited, a company specializing in industrial waste processing, is planning to recycle 70% of their plastic waste in the form of asphalt. According to Nelplast, Ghana generates 22,000 pounds of plastic annually. Only 2% of that plastic is recycled while the rest piles up in landfills.
One Person’s Trash is Another Person’s Future
There has always been a huge plastic problem in Ghana, so in order to combat the environmental impact of plastic waste, the company came up with a solution with the help of the young engineer. Nelson Boateng, a Ghanaian network engineer for Nelplast, came up with a way to recycle discarded plastic bags and turn them into stone-like blocks that could be used for building roads, homes, and other infrastructures (2).
Sometimes It Takes a Village
The Nelplast processing plant breaks down plastic bags into a fine substance and mixes it with sand. This dry mixture is then added to a binding agent and compacted down to create a brick-like material. The 60:40 ratio of plastic to sand is extremely durable and just as strong as traditional asphalt (1). Nelplast didn’t just stop there though!
The company’s innovative technology can practically turn any plastic (except PVC pipes) into concrete pavement blocks. Currently the plant can make about 200 blocks a day, but network engineer Boateng explains in a USA Today interview that, “once I have more machines, I will be able to compete with larger concrete companies (4).”
Clear the Streets
A few years ago, the country’s government decided to take more initiative into tackling their waste problem. It causes quite an issue in the city’s streets as their roads turned into piles of trash, which started to block drains, cause floods during heavy rain seasons, and tarnish their neighborhood aesthetic (3).
The company envisions that this technology will help them work towards a cleaner environment and push the envelope for other sustainable building materials including plastic-infused roofing tiles, walls, pavement blocks, and more! This is only the beginning to a cleaner and more environmentally conscious environment!
If you liked this blog, check out:
- The World’s First Solar Powered Road
- The Do’s and Don’ts of Recycling Plastic
- Ways to Reduce your Carbon Footprint: Tips for a Greener Lifestyle
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