M3 Features

Plastic waste to bricks

March 18, 2015

A Danish engineer is using solar energy to convert plastic waste into bricks in a village near Basanti in the South 24-Parganas district of West Bengal. These bricks can be used to lay roads or as the base of embankments. People can also use them while constructing their homes.

The innovative project at Joygopalpur village is helmed by a 29-year-old engineer from Denmark, Lise Fuglsang Vestergaard. According to her, in Denmark, plastic waste is already being converted into blocks that are used for many purposes. Plastic is heated in furnaces to temperatures up to 200° Celsius to convert it to the new material to make the bricks. Now, in the same thing wouldn't work in the Sunderbans as electricity or conventional fuel sources aren’t easily available. So she had to tweak the technology a bit to use sustainable solar energy.

Lise studied design and innovation at the Technical University of Denmark and she specialises in sustainable development and system design. She has been staying at Joygopalpur village with husband Olav for several months now. Her project in the Sunderbans has been awarded in Denmark as one of the most innovative.

Lise and three others are working for Waste Sustainable Handling project under InnoAid, in which Denmark is a collaborator. Lise spent three months discussing with local people how to clean up plastic waste from the Sunderbans. The intention was to prevent the area from turning into an uncontrolled dumping ground and turning useless waste into valuable products that could be used to solve other problems. Bins have been set up at various points and the cost of collection and transportation calculated. Those turning in plastic waste accumulate green points.

According to Lise, their aim is for people to bring in plastic waste and take away bricks; in this way, soon, there will be a cleaner Sunderbans and a cleaner India.

Lise Fuglsang Vestergaard speaking on her project of converting plastic to bricks

Feature image: Lise Fuglsang Vestergaard (Technologist)

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