A company in Mexico called EcoDomum (which translates to “EcoHome”) has developed a process to turn plastic waste into surfacing materials for exterior walls and roofing as well as interior walls. The company is reportedly able to turn more than 5 tons of plastic waste into usable building materials per day. This material can be used to build the basic structure of a small house for less than $3,000 (U.S.)
The company collects a variety of used plastic materials and sorts out any plastics that emit harmful fumes when melted. It then uses a machine to cut the plastics into small pieces that are meted at around 600 degrees F and then compresses the melted plastics via a hydraulic press and molds it into panels.
These panels are 8 ft. by 4 ft. by 1-in.-thick and because they are plastic are reportedly nonporous and durable. The typical house made of these materials is around 450 sq. ft. and requires about 80 panels that average around $35 (U.S.) each. Each of these homes divert about 2 tons of plastic from landfills and can be constructed in about a week.
As a subsequent benefit, the company is stimulating the local economy, as they pay trash collectors to keep the plastic materials coming in on a regular basis to use in the manufacturing process.
The company has already built about 500 of these homes in some of the poorest parts of Mexico and is investing in increasing the capacity and expanding throughout Mexico this year. More information on the company is available at the EcoDomum website.
You may also be interested in this article about surfacing material made from recycled denim.