An absolutely brilliant young woman in Kenya has started a company manufacturing bricks from recycled plastic.Nzambi Matee says she was “tired of being on the sidelines” while civil servants struggled against plastic waste in the capital city of Nairobi, so the materials engineer created a product that is 5 to 7 times stronger than concrete.Founder of Gjenge Makers, which transforms plastic waste into durable building materials, Matee also designed the machines that manufacture the bricks in her factory.
Getting dumps of plastic low and high-density polyethylene and polypropylene from local packaging plants for free, Gjenge Makers produces a variety of different paving stones after the plastic polymer is heated and mixed with sand.“There is waste they cannot process anymore; they cannot recycle. That is what we get,” Matee told. The result is a line of versatile building materials pressed via hydraulic machine into different thicknesses, that sell in a variety of colors that cost an average of $7.70 per square meter.So far, she has employed more than 110 people, helping to churn out about 1,500 bricks every day. She told Reuters that they have recycled about 20 metric tons of plastic waste since the company was founded in 2018.