The problem of ocean waste, particularly the plastic variety, is a big one, and many creative people are working on ways to clean it up. Finding ways to repurpose the plastic debris collected from the ocean is one component of that, and the U.S.-based startup ByFusion has responded with technology that recycles ocean plastic into durable construction blocks. This way, the plastic waste can be repurposed permanently, rather than being used to create another disposable plastic item that might wind up right back in our precious waterways.
The technology is based on a genius idea from New Zealand-based inventor Peter Lewis, who is a principal engineer with the company. His process involves a modular platform that compresses plastic debris into blocks of various shapes and densities, based on custom settings. The result is called RePlast, the company’s name for the recycled plastic building material. The RePlast system is portable, designed to run on gas or electric, and doesn’t require the plastic to be sorted or washed.
ByFusion describes RePlast on its website as a “nearly 100-percent carbon neutral, non-toxic manufacturing process,” and says the bricks can help improve the eco-friendly status of building projects and contribute to LEED certification. So far, the recycled plastic blocks have been designed to be used in walls and road barriers, but the company is open to customizing the building material for use in other types of projects as well.
Needing no glue or adhesives, RePlast blocks could represent the next wave of sustainable construction, since they are completely recycled from collected waste plastic (with no discrimination for plastic type) and have 95-percent lower greenhouse gas emissions than traditional concrete block. Due to the nature of plastic debris, the blocks are a lot more colorful, too.
Images via ByFusion