Posted by Dan Barry on

Plastic into Bricks – Plastic Into Marc Skid Waistbands

You never know when inspiration will strike. It struck Abhishek Banerjee on a 2016 field trip to a brick kiln. “We saw that the workers there were being treated very inhumanely,” he recalled. He saw working conditions he thought “improper” like people “digging clay with their bare hands.”
A college student at India’s Jadavpur University, he wanted to do something not only to address bad working conditions at kilns but alleviate environmental damage they cause. As Anna Fletcher noted in the CNN World piece, “One study estimated that India’s brick kilns burn 15-20 million tons of coal each year” which “releases over 40 millions tons of climate warming carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.” That was in addition to the dust and sulfur dioxide created by the kilns.
Banerjee and other pals/classmates formed a company called Qube in 2017 to create “Plastiqube” – a brick created from waste plastic. Qube has a lot with which to work as Indians discard approximately 25,000 tons of plastic waste daily. “We’re building something sustainable literally out of garbage.” Plastic that would have gone to the landfills is instead upcycled into Plastiqube bricks. The company also boasts cost effectiveness: Each Plastiqube brick costs 5 to 6 rupees (8 cents in American dough) while regular old clay bricks cost about 10 rupees or 14 cents.
Plastiqube diverts plastic from landfills to make bricks much as Marc Skid diverts plastic water bottles from a similar wasteful and polluting fate to serve as underwear waistbands. Here’s to upcycling the planet’s plastic!

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