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Hong Kong Startup Making Ecobricks Out Of ‘Impossible to Recycle’ Plastic

June 28, 2022 by Kate Michael

HONG KONG — A business in Asia making sustainable construction materials out of plastic waste is now keeping unrecyclable plastic out of landfills by using ecobricks in construction projects in Hong Kong. 

The concept of an ecobrick is not entirely new. An environmental activist in Guatemala developed the first construction system with ecobricks in the early 2000s, which inspired others around the world.

The Global Ecobrick Alliance now even explains on its website how a type of plastic reusable building block can be made by anyone, with no machines or special skills required. 

However, one Hong Kong-based start-up, EcoBricks Limited, in partnership with Sino Group, not only ensures the quality, usability, and cosmetic refinement of its new type of ecobrick, but it is actually creating a circular economy-based solution that has the ability to turn all seven types of plastic waste into sustainable construction materials that are being incorporated into projects like Hong Kong’s Olympian City and The Fullerton Ocean Park Hotel Hong Kong.

While individually-made ecobricks are a tool to combat the rise of plastic waste, and can create building materials that stand the test of time, they are not uniform in color, size, or durability, and are not generally the first choice of large construction projects. 

EcoBricks, on the other hand, are designed to look, feel, and incorporate into building projects like regular concrete. The company says its bricks are lighter, but “just as strong” because they are tested to international standards. They are also a breakthrough solution with the ability to upcycle even those types of mixed and composite plastics that are currently impossible to recycle and would otherwise go to a landfill. 

Through its proprietary process and formula — which was awarded a Gold Medal at the 2022 Special Edition of the Geneva International Exhibition of Inventions — the resulting ‘green concrete’ can be used in a wide variety of industry-standard construction materials and may be poised for use all over the world. 

“Our founding vision was of a scalable circular economy solution that would increase recycling rates whilst at the same time providing more sustainable solutions for our built environment,” Shervin Sharghy, founder of EcoBricks, explained at its joint launch with Sino Group in early June.

“EcoBricks targets hard to recycle plastic waste that very often ends up in landfills or our natural environment. We have implemented a low-energy 100% cold production process with no heating or melting of waste plastics and therefore no harmful emissions or pollutants. EcoBricks can replace up to 50% of natural aggregates in concrete bricks with unwanted plastic waste. This means up to 2,000kg of plastic waste is diverted from landfills for every 100 square meters of EcoBricks produced, equivalent to 200,000 plastic bottles.”

EcoBricks were first introduced at Gold Coast Piazza in Tuen Mun with over 15,000 EcoBricks used to pave the promenade and line the Leaf Path. According to EcoBricks, these bricks were upcycled from the plastic from over 560 old washing machines, equivalent to 5,400 kg of plastic waste. 

A second two-phase project at Olympian City in Hong Kong used 14.6 tons of upcycled plastic, which EcoBricks claimed was equivalent to an additional 1,521 washing machines. Further projects are already underway. 

Kate can be reached at kate@thewellnews.com

 

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