Bricks made from… construction waste!

Posted on 26 January 2017.

The Peruvian start-up Ciclo makes durable bricks from construction waste. It’s the story of a family.

Recovering aggregate from demolition sites and transforming it into sustainable, economical construction materials – that’s Peru’s Ciclo project.

In Peru, the Ciclo project focuses on recycling construction waste from demolition or renovation projects before transforming it into new construction materials.

The idea is first and foremost the story of a family. When he was responsible for a building site as an engineer and economist, Walter Mori started grinding the materials left behind, adding water and cement and pouring the mixture into wooden molds. The result was an entirely reusable brick that used very little energy since the whole reuse cycle took place on the spot.

The family then took over and nurtured the idea. It was Roger, the son, an engineer in the fishing industry, and his sister Marjorie, then a psychology student, who decided to take a serious look at Walter's project. In 2013, a patent was filed.

The Mori clan added the skills of Sandra Barrantes, a young architect who believed in the concept, and José Luis Cruzado, a young engineer who tested the resistance of Ciclo bricks as part of his thesis. This step made it possible to prove the durability of the first prototypes.

In 2015, the young company received an award for innovation and a grant from Concytec, the National Council for Science, Technology and Innovation. The finance has been used to purchase a first machine for the Ciclo pilot site in Cieneguilla, one of the 43 districts in the province of Lima Peruvian.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

In addition to the 18-hole "King Kong" brick, Ciclo also makes street paving using recycled aggregate. The principle is based on recovering building and demolition waste in the form of old bricks, gravel, and mortar – removing any wood, iron, plastic or organic materials - and transforming it into a recycled durable aggregate. Added to water and cement, it becomes the traditional rectangular bricks that can be used directly in construction without needing to be pre-baked in ovens like as traditional bricks.

The attraction of the project lies in the fact that it covers the collection, management and treatment of building and demolition waste. And it reduces the volume of waste dumped in landfills, which is a considerable advantage in a country with a large number of open dumps such as that in Carpayo de Ventanilla - one of the largest in Latin America.

For Roger Mori, the engineer specializing in the fishing industry who is behind Ciclo, it is without doubt also a way of preventing Peru’s coastline being polluted and disfigured. A virtuous, sustainable enterprise with benefits for both people and the environment.

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Main picture: CICLO