Gallery: Port-au-Prince Could Be Recycled and Rebuilt From Itself


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.

Via GreenBiz and American Recycler

Pictures via United Nations Development Programme


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  1. heyheybarnett March 2, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    Google up “gabion house” and get a whole new idea how the rubble could be used to make a totally alternative housing structure. Granted, some of the designs are high dollar concepts, just think what you could do with massive, inexpensive building blocks in Haiti. Think of the benefits: use of existing materials, hurricane resistant structures due to overall mass, earthquake resistance — there aren’t too many things more earthquake proof, can be built by unskilled labor, thermal storage, violence resistance, etc. I can’t help but think the people of Haiti and the volunteers are apt to repeat the past by building housing that will certainly be ill-suited to hurricanes, civil unrest, and future earthquakes.

  2. peti fa March 2, 2010 at 3:33 pm


    Germany was rebuild by the so called Trümmerfrauen (rumblewomen), malnutritioned as they were they worked long hours to regain material from the carpet bombed and erased inner cities and cultural monuments. I assume the foundation for the economic miracle was laid by those humble hands.ümmerfrau

    For Port-au-Prince a similar approach could work.
    Money should be put, where the hands are idle and people are hungry, instead of importing materials. May be even a fleurishing recycle industry could emerge, combined with urban farming, a future for those shattered lands and its inhabitants.
    Would it be possible to provide the readers with adresses of help organisations, to donate for them?

    An additional reason, the money influx might dry up soon, as we all become more occupied with other issues. Hence there might be a necessity for this approach.

  3. PatienceinJcksn March 2, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    I think it is a great idea…one we should use more often not just in emergency situations

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