Innovations

UN Sustainable Development Goal

11
Sustainable Cities and Communities

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  • Gustavo A Yepes López
    Gustavo A Yepes López This case has huge potential because of the innovation and positive social and environmental impact. It is also disruptive and has potential to be scalable.
    January 18
  • Laura M. Johnson
    Laura M. Johnson As we learn more about climate change, it becomes increasingly important to find building and manufacturing solutions which are more conducive to healing our planet. This model has implications to provide shelter in a safer, more sustainable way to the people...  more
    January 18
  • Megan Buchter
    Megan Buchter This is a really really cool innovation. This company provides housing solutions for people in need and also keeps plastics and other materials out of landfills. So much good!
    January 18

Recycled Material Converted in Housing

Date published: 18 Jan 2017
Bogotá, Colombia     3 likes   3

Overview

Conceptos Plásticos is a company that helps to mitigate the environmental negative impact of the plastic transforming it into an alternative material of construction, helping BOP families to build their homes and improve their life’s quality. The material that is used to construct the houses is made of recovered plastic residues that has difficult disposition, electronic waste and rubber, turning it into a constructive alternative system which contributes to the environmental care.

innovation photo

Innovation

Conceptos Plásticos is “based on the transformation of plastic residues and rubber in pieces like blocks, which are used later for housing construction”. Using these type of materials, the company aims to reduce the pollution generated by plastic, turned aside of dumps, creating a suitable final disposition of these residues and transforming the biodegradation problem of the plastic (which normally would take 500 years), in to suitable materials for construction.

The manufacturing of the pieces is done by means of an “extrusion process, in which the plastic residue that is recycled fuses and injects in a mold, resulting in the production of plastic pieces that are fitted like Lego pieces”. This design allows the community to be involved in the construction of their own homes.

The materials are elaborated by additives that make them resistant to fire, have acoustic isolation, impermeable and earthquake resistant; qualities that are analyzed and evaluated in the test laboratories that Conceptos Plásticos has. 

Overall impact

Worthy, innovative, and durable economic housing generates a strong social impact, mitigating the deficit of housing and managing this way to improve the life quality of the vulnerable communities.

The environmental impact is made possible through the recovery of materials and plastic residual, turning the waste aside from these dumps and incineration through the conversion of recycled materials in construction material to build alternative housing, which creates a reduction of the water consumption, energy, and of the CO2 emissions by means of the use of this type of materials.

In addition, Plastic Concepts “generates an economic important impact, which is an added value to residual material, generating direct and indirect employments by working with the community and government making real this initiative replicable and scalable”.

Inspiration

In agreement with the World Bank it is estimated that 9.6% of the world population lives in conditions of extreme poverty. In Colombia, approximately 27.8% of the population lives under these conditions (DANE). It is known that in Colombia, 37% of the families don’t have a ceiling to live under or live in bad quality houses (BID).

Ricardo Rico, Business Manager of Conceptos Plásticos declares that the principal purpose is: “To help families with lack of resources to get worthy housing, involving the community in the construction of their houses,” and, at the same time, motivate the involvement of private companies and governments of different country regions, to design and carry housing plans out for a better well-being."

Business benefit

Conceptos Plásticos “is an example of company transformation, thanks to the significant contribution that offers to the community and the contribution to the environment." This goal has been achieved through the work and the relationship with different interest groups of the government, the governmental entities and private companies, who are conscious of their social responsibility and pay for these housing solutions in the zones where it’s needed.

Because housing "Lego" types can be constructed in 5 days approximately, houses don’t need a qualified workforce for the construction, the same family can do it. “The plastic materials for a 40 m2 house may have a value of 17 million pesos approximately", said Rico. What makes it competitive, opposite to traditional systems, is that offers a worthy and friendly option to the environment. 

Social and environmental benefit

Conceptos Plásticos “looks to mitigate the impact of global warming by creating spaces that contribute to the reduction of CO2,” making manufacturing processes cleaner and based on the suitable closing of the plastic cycle, which is problematic because it considerably affects the environment.

Rico comments that this housing solution, "Hopes to help 77 million families of vulnerable zones of Latin America and the Caribbean that nowadays don’t possess a worthy housing.” This reduces its quantitative cost, but in order to make this possible will require active participation from recycling associations, foundations, and responsible companies, as well the contribution from everyone to make this winning formula the forefront of social entrepreneurship.

Interview(s)

Ricardo Rico, Business Manager

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3 comments
  • Gustavo A Yepes López
    Gustavo A Yepes López This case has huge potential because of the innovation and positive social and environmental impact. It is also disruptive and has potential to be scalable.
    January 18
  • Laura M. Johnson
    Laura M. Johnson As we learn more about climate change, it becomes increasingly important to find building and manufacturing solutions which are more conducive to healing our planet. This model has implications to provide shelter in a safer, more sustainable way to the people...  more
    January 18
  • Megan Buchter
    Megan Buchter This is a really really cool innovation. This company provides housing solutions for people in need and also keeps plastics and other materials out of landfills. So much good!
    January 18