Using Soft Plastic Bags to Make Bricks

plastic-bricks

Week 8

Non-biodegradable plastic bags have become a massive problem for world.  Most of these plastic bags are just left out in the street waiting to be swept into the ocean.  A small percentage make it to the land fill and that is where it will stay for decades before it degrades.  This is where one can take these plastic bags and effectively compress them into a brick.  This is done by melting them down by the sun alone and putting it into a mold and just applying pressure to it.  This would make for building extremely cheap structures where there is an abundance of plastic just laying around.  Withstanding around six tons of pressure, could this spell for a new type of public housing for the low income?  If we were to collect all of our plastic waste in our country and then transport it to dense population areas or places with little economy, we could knock out two birds with one stone.  Of course there are other factors to think about, like how would this building degrade and would melted plastic have a unique smell when under the beating sun?  Would they start to melt again if it does get too hot?  These bricks would probably not be used for major companies or in skyscrapers as it cannot support that much weight.  But, further experimenting could produce a new way strengthen these bonds that were chemically formed in the plastic and revolutionize the way we look and design buildings.

 

Cites:

http://www.technologist.eu/turning-old-plastic-bags-into-bricks/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/22/plastic-ocean-garbage_n_5191294.html

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One comment

  1. Rachel Riddle

    Rachel Riddle – Week 9
    I completely agree that non-biodegradable plastic waste has become a huge problem that needs to be resolved (even stressed in the Cradle to Cradle video we watched in class this week), and I also wrote about some solutions, specifically Plastic Roads, related to integrating plastic waste into building practices to alleviate this issue in my blog post last week. I think it’s going to take innovative and forward-thinking ideas to lessen this pressing concern, and I think utilizing plastic bricks are a great idea. I also think it’s fascinating that the bricks can contain up to 60% of crisp bags without this compromising their strength. In the beginning, I also see it being a perfect material for low income housing due to the availability and the cost of the plastic; however, after development I don’t see why this practice couldn’t be utilized in all types and kinds of structures as a greener alternative; however, I am concerned with the strength aspect. Back in February I read about an apartment complex in Taiwan that collapsed during an earthquake, because it was filled with paint cans (these cans are not easily recycled). This illustrates the importance of integrating non-recyclable materials in a smart and safe way, and making sure the strength of these new hybrid materials is analyzed closely. Nonetheless, I still became very interested in the idea and success of integrating recycled plastic into other forms. To expand or add to your argument, after some research I found plastic lumber, another successful application of this practice, that is made from recycled plastic bottles, coffee cups and other plastics, and that is already used in bridges, railway ties, docks, and picnic tables. This material is lighter than steel, nontoxic, extremely strong, and longer lasting than lumber. I think if researchers continue to push the envelope with integrating these recyclable plastics cost effectively, safely, and find a way for people to recognize these discoveries universally the amount of plastic will decrease and the opportunities will be endless.

    Sources:
    http://www.technologist.eu/turning-old-plastic-bags-into-bricks/
    http://www.carbonated.tv/news/tin-cans-construction-building-collapsed-taiwan-earthquake
    http://news.rutgers.edu/feature/recycled-plastic-lumber-invented-pioneering-rutgers-professor/20160626#.WByvtuErKu4

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