The world produces, uses, and wastes an enormous amount of plastic. Each year we throw away enough plastic; it could circle the earth 4 times! Plastic does not decompose like other materials, so it just sits and pollutes our world. A lot of the disposed of plastic finds its way into the ocean, which causes a great deal of harm to sea life. We are currently in a movement to try to reduce the amount of plastic we are using, while at the same time we are trying to find ways to make use of the already disposed of plastics we have.
In Puebla, Mexico, a startup named EcoDomum was created to help combat plastic waste, and also try to help the impoverished in Mexico. EcoDomum is using the plastic waste in Mexico and recycling it into building materials for affordable housing. Over 5 million tons of plastic is consumed every year in Mexico, so they have plenty to work with!
EcoDomum begins their process by collecting used plastic waste and sorting it into various types, while separating out any materials that will release toxic fumes if burned. Next, they use a machine to chop up the plastic into small pieces. The pieces are then put into an oven that 350 degrees for one hour. Once the material is soft enough, it is placed in a hydraulic press where it is flattened into panels roughly 8 feet long, 4 feet wide, an 1-inch thick (which is the standard dimension of plywood).
These homes have numerous benefits and help serve multiple needs at the same time. EcoDomum has found a way to recycle the excessive amount of plastic used in Mexico each year, and used it in a way to provide affordable housing for the impoverished in their country. EcoDomum currently has a 430 square foot prototype house that uses 2 tons of plastic and only costs 5,000 pesos, which is approximately $280.00 USD.