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BLOG: A Construction Use for Plastic Waste

New York-based ByFusion’s innovation recycles plastic into what they claim are durable construction blocks.

Mon September 26, 2016 - National Edition
Jeff Winke


Image courtesy of Instagram.  The finished blocks sort of look like composite-board plywood, where it is possible to see the various chunks of the raw ingredients.
Image courtesy of Instagram. The finished blocks sort of look like composite-board plywood, where it is possible to see the various chunks of the raw ingredients.

One thing that really bugs me is all the one-time-use plastic in the world – plastic grocery bags, water and soda bottles, and plastic silverware to name a few culprits.

The stuff is a scourge. I make tepid attempts to avoid the plastic glut, but I feel like the irritating eccentric when I halt the mechanical motions of the check-out clerk at the grocery store by requesting paper rather than plastic. I get a blank, slack-jaw stare, while my request is being processed and usually get a “huh?” so I repeat the request… “paper grocery bags, please.” Needless to say, I'm not consistent in being eco-man at the grocery store. I don't always have the patience to request, repeat, and watch the clerk struggle with opening a folded-up paper bag, especially if there's a line behind me.

That's why I like Brooklyn, New York-based ByFusion's innovation that recycles plastic into what they claim are durable construction blocks. According to them, “The process will repurpose the plastic waste permanently rather than creating another disposable plastic product.”

They've coined the name RePlast to describe the process of compressing plastic debris into blocks of various shapes. The finished blocks sort of look like composite-board plywood, where it is possible to see the various chunks of the raw ingredients. The RePlast system is portable, designed to run on gas or electric and the best part is that it doesn't require the plastic to be sorted or washed.

The blocks need no glue or adhesives. They have been designed to use in walls and road barriers with the possibility of customizing the building material for use in other types of projects.

I'd love to see RePlast blocks used instead of cinder blocks or poured cement slabs. If they can demonstrate the structural strength and durability needed, why not?




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