What if the crumbled remains of Haiti could be recycled and used to repair and rebuild a brand new city? That’s what one company, Independence Recycling of Florida, is proposing as a reconstruction process. Economically, it makes sense to use the existing material on site rather than having to import material to the island nation, and there are also significant environmental benefits to not sending all that waste to the landfill or using virgin materials to rebuild Haiti.
Most of the buildings in Port-au-Prince are made from low quality concrete, cement and mud blocks utilizing simple building techniques that are by no means up to seismic code. There is minimal rebar in the mix – instead, they used lightweight wire mesh reinforcement, which makes for easy recycling. Greg Moro, operations manager for Independence Recycling of Florida (IRF), has been working on a plan to go into Haiti and crush the ruins, which would then leave recyclable material to rebuild with. Moro says, “They want us to demolish buildings and recycle them into whatever useable products we can make, for example aggregates to be used in new concrete for future development.”
So far the plan in discussion is to go into the city, quadrant by quadrant, scrape it clean, crush the material, and build it back up again with hurricane and earthquake resistant structures. This would minimize waste sent to the landfill and also save the city millions in reconstruction costs. Virgin material imported into the country would be highly costly as well. Moro says that the aggregate created would probably be well suited for use in sidewalks, house slabs and many other building applications that use pump mix. Recycling the city would be a fantastic solution and hopefully will be implemented.
Pictures via United Nations Development Programme