Gallery: Indian Researchers Create Low-Cost Bricks From Recycled Paper ...


While recycling trash is preferable to simply chucking refuse into the dump, the process still creates tons of byproducts that end up making their way to the landfill. Fortunately, Professors Rahul Ralegaonkar and Sachin Mandavgane of the Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology in India (VNIT) have developed a way to create paper bricks from recycling waste. Made from 90% recycled paper mill waste (RPMW) and 10% cement, the mixture is mechanically mixed and pressed into molds and then cured in the sun. The brilliant recycled building material is low-cost means of eking more efficiency out of an already good practice.

After visiting a recycling plant in 2009, Mandavgane and Ralegaonkar discovered that 15% of the paper taken in was left to sit in a landfill as sludge. After bringing the slurry back to their labs at VNIT, they experimented with a mixture that would make a good building material. Their bricks are made from 90% recycled paper mill waste that has already been used successfully in false ceilings and partition walls. In addition to paper waste, the team has incorporated textile effluent treatment plant (ETP) sludge, cigarette butts, fly ash, cotton waste, polystyrene fabric, waste tea, rice husk ash, granulated blast furnace slag, and dried sludge from a waste water treatment plant.

“Recycle Paper Mills (RPM) contribute 30 percent of [the] total pulp and paper mill segment in India. With 85 percent being the average efficiency of RPM, 5 per cent waste (RPMW) is produced annually. RPMW which otherwise is land filled has been utilized to make construction bricks that serve a purpose of solid waste management, new revenue generation and earning carbon credits,” says Mandavgane.

Blocks made from these cast-off materials are half the cost of normal bricks and much lighter. Such inexpensive bricks would come as a great benefit to the Indian construction market, which has a 30% deficit in supply. The team is presently working on a waterproof coating for the bricks (so they can be used on housing exteriors) and determining the material’s efficacy in earthquake prone areas.


Via Make /The Indian Express


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  1. sara_d March 24, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Have you applied for patent.

  2. kearaaaa March 6, 2013 at 8:22 am


  3. sanjeevbulsara March 5, 2013 at 2:25 am

    In days of depleting natural resources a perfect example of productivity from watse This will help the construction industry especially rela estate to reduce the cost and if the strength acquired is same as conventional bricks it will go a long way to replace them and Lot cost savings Can be acheived.

  4. dkroys March 5, 2013 at 12:10 am

    The procedure describes use of machines like mixers and press. The technology described is similar to brick making from iron ore sludge. The technology was developed in NIT Surathkal, Karnatka, India. I visited them for evaluating the process on behalf of JSW Steel Limited.

    However, due to high transportation cost of product (bricks) to the market the project didn’t become viable.

    Besides, CCS and Hygroscopicity is not mentioned. To become viable as building materials, these are important

  5. rajeevc March 5, 2013 at 12:00 am

    Congrats for the innovation, I want to know if it is commercially produced also and where it is available as we are into affordable housing and it can be an integral part of our construction

  6. abhabahadur February 6, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Congratulations to the researchers on this remarkable innovation to recycle waste product into an eco-friendly product.

  7. Question February 5, 2013 at 11:41 am

    What about the effects of hazardous material in the effluent treatment plant (ETP) sludge, cigarette butts, fly ash, cotton waste, polystyrene fabric, waste tea, rice husk ash, granulated blast furnace slag, and dried sludge from a waste water treatment plant???

    Isn’t there a danger of spreading these particles in the environment where bricks are installed over the period of years??

  8. r.parks February 5, 2013 at 10:42 am

    What are flammability?
    I see no mention of fire retardation.

  9. Jagdish Mittal February 4, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Congratulations to both the scientists for their Innovation which was long awaited. I hope and wish that this technology will find its due in time to come

  10. Oliver Tickell February 1, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Also see a related technology widely deployed in Africa:
    These bricks are made of cement stablised soil. Their other key feature is that they are of interlocking design which greatly improves the strength of walls, buildings, water tanks, etc. Perhaps the waste paper blocks could adopt that feature?

  11. cheryl1433 January 31, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Can you purchase the bricks now? If so, how and where?

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