An innovative way to deal with the thousands of plastic bags thrown away
A new technique that transforms plastic bags into paving stones has been developed by a young Cameroonian entrepreneur. Pierre Kasoumloum got the idea from his childhood memories, while the proposed process not only provides a cheaper alternative to concrete, but deals with the huge environmental problem of the plastic bags and their disposal too. He started the business in Yaoundé in 2008, and since then his initiative has expanded in many African countries, where –with the support of NGOs- it has actually become a social project, generating employment particularly for local street children. In the Gambia and Senegal, with support from WasteAid UK -an organization that provides waste management skills in developing countries to improve livehoods, people are being trained at waste reprocessing centers so that they can turn waste into wealth. WasteAid UK, in cooperation with local partners, has developed the new Brikama Reprocessing Platform in the Gambia, where tiles are being made and sold for around 75% the price of concrete tiles.
1. Collection of LDPE plastics and separation of any plastic containing chlorine as it becomes toxic if it's chemically altered
2. Gently heating it in a drum over a wood fire until it melts
3. Addition of sand
4. The mix is transferred into a mold and left to dry
Each of these waterproof, durable and sustainable floor tiles is made out of approximately 200 plastic bags. According to Pierre, 1m2 of slabs around 5cm thick costs 3,500 CFA francs (5.35 euros), whereas the same quantity of cement slabs costs 5,000 CFA francs. Currently, WasteAid UK is helping him develop his recycled paving slab business by working with Imperial College London to test and optimize the product.