A finalist in the International Circular Challenge 2019, a competition that rewards and promotes future leaders in the circular economy, the Tanzanian EcoAct start-up manufactures lumber from recycled plastics.
At the origin of this initiative is Christian Hafidh Mwijage, 35, from a popular suburb of Dar es-Salaam invaded by waste, in which waste collection and recycling is non-existent. Plastic waste is collected by a few people from the slums in exchange for a little money.
Converting plastic waste into sustainable construction materials to save the forests.
As a wood-consuming industry Tanzania is experiencing a boom in construction. Therefore why not collect the plastic cans, bags, bottles and waste of all types and convert it all into a construction material such as a synthetic wood that could contribute to slowing down the country’s intensive deforestation?
He thus founded EcoAct Tanzania, “a social enterprise created to address the problems of post-consumption plastic pollution, waste management, deforestation and climate change”.
Recycled plastic waste to replace wood and metal
The company uses an energy-saving, chemical-free plastic extrusion technology called the “Waxy ıı technology": the collected used plastic waste is converted into lumber in varying shapes and sizes which can replace wood and metal. They are lightweight (between 9 and 14 kilos), resistant to weather and insects, easy to use, aesthetically-pleasing and affordable. According to Christian, “the plastic wood made from recycled plastic waste is the ideal product for the construction, fencing and furniture making.”.
Sixteen people and around fifty street collectors now work for EcoAct, and Christian would like to be known around the world for manufacturing high-quality, affordable, sustainable and first-class ecological building materials made from recycled plastic waste.
Given the many awards he has received, he might reach his goal: after being a finalist in the Circular Challenge, he just recently received the 2019 Grand Prize for Urban Innovation in the “habitat” category of the Le Monde Cities competition.