Recycled plastic brick

She turns old plastic bags into bricks

Posted on 10 March 2015.

When developing a waste collection system in India, Lise Fuglsang Vestergaard came up with the idea of making plastic bricks. Her aim? To build monsoon resistant homes.

In order to fit in with the existing houses in Joygopalpur, Lise Fuglsang Vestergaard plans to cover her recycled plastic bricks with clay.

With one simple idea, this Danish student has managed to solve two major challenges in India. In 2013, Lise Fuglsang Vestergaard left for Joygopalpur for three months to develop a waste collection system. There, on the mounds of garbage where the poorest people collect whatever can be re-used, she noted that the plastic bags were left behind. Scattered far and wide this soft plastic causes a major pollution problem. And Lise Fuglsang Vestergaard made another discovery. The people live in clay brick houses that are so fragile they are almost washed away during the monsoon season. It didn’t take her long to put two and two together.

Up to six tons of pressure

Back in Denmark, Lise Fuglsang Vestergaard was working on her studies in design and innovation and decided to experiment with melting plastic in a conventional oven, while anticipating using renewable energy - solar - in India as Joygopalpur does not have an electricity supply. Her invention when tested in the laboratory consisted of brick prototypes with up to 60% of foil crisp packets, which is also considered difficult to recycle. They withstand a pressure of 6 tons. Awarded the Grøn dyst (Green Challenge), a prestigious award organized by the Technical University of Denmark, Lise Fuglsang Vestergaard was rewarded with a prize of 15,000 euros. Funds she chose to re-inject into her project in order to return to India and build houses made out of durable plastic bricks.

Main picture: Recycled plastic brick