Waste into Bricks & Tiles

Introducing manufacturing techniques of paving based on plastic waste

Manufacturing paving stones from plastic waste is characterized by the fact that it does not require a high investment and it primarily uses plastic packaging, namely bags and transparent films made of PP and PE. It is also possible to associate other types of plastic waste, with low proportions, in the mixture.

The proposed technique was born in 1998 in N’Djamena, Chad. It has been revived and widely developed in Niger by the Association RESEDA2, and to a lesser extent in other African countries such as Mali, Mauritania and Senegal.

The manufacturing process is simple. It is similar to that of concrete sand (mixture of sand and cement). Molten plastic is used as binder instead of cement. It is mixed with sand particles, the size of which is selected in specific proportions, depending on the desired use for the finished product (pedestrian pavement or paving roads)

Making Pavement bricks from plastic waste
Making Pavement bricks from plastic waste

The manufacturing process can be briefly described as follows:

Phase 1 – Mixture preparation
Plastic bags, unwashed, are sorted and their impurities are roughly removed. They are weighed like sand.
Plastic/sand ratio is variable. It has to be defined beforehand, just as we would do with concrete sand.

Phase 2 – Heating the mixture
The mixture is gradually heated in a recovery drum, while undergoing vigorous mixing.
The energy used comes from organic waste (paper, cardboard, plant debris, sawdust …) and reconditioned compressed bales. The flue gases resulting from this operation, due to the composition of the plastics used, are composed only of water and carbon dioxide. However, it is recommended to equip the personnel with fume masks.

Phase 3 – Moulding
The blocks and the metal plate on which they rest are placed in a cold water tray.

Phase 4 – Remoulding
The release is immediate and occurs with no problems, by carefully removing the mould.

Phase 5 – Cooling
The blocks and the metal plate on which they rest are placed in a cold water tray.

Roadmap Making Pavement Bricks
Searching for more detailed information to start a business like that? Look into our simple vizualisation of the whole proces:  Roadmap.Pavement.Bricks

Source knowledge & Photos: Lios McGilchrist from Living Earth Foundation UK. (Project Cameroon)