How Single-Use Plastics Easily Become Construction-Grade Blocks

The modern world is slowly coming to the realization that municipal recycling doesn’t work where post-consumer plastics are concerned. Single-use plastics are especially troublesome to municipal recyclers due to contamination and other factors. But now there may be a solution: turning single-use plastics into construction-grade blocks for building.

A company profiled by Apartment Therapy back in 2022 was celebrated for a revolutionary process that turns hard-to-recycle post-consumer plastics into a “new kind of concrete block”. Known as ByBlocks, they have no concrete in them whatsoever. But they are as strong as concrete while being lighter, easier to use, and considerably more sustainable.

Designed Around a Simple Process

The company behind ByBlocks is ByFusion Global. You can check out their website. They are still in business today. Their success is built on a simple process that quickly transforms post-consumer plastic waste into a ready-to-use construction material. Simplicity is key.

Thanks to a specially designed machine that utilizes steam and pressure, the company can quickly transform hard-to-recycle plastics like food containers, plastic bags, and single-use plastic packaging into a material with indefinite applications.

ByFusion starts by collecting post-consumer plastics. The plastics are taken to their facility and shredded. The material is then loaded into their machine and compressed into tough, resilient, construction blocks that meet California’s stringent building codes. The blocks can be used to build retaining walls, tool sheds, privacy fences, etc.

Simplicity Is the Key

ByFusion’s success is rooted in the simplicity of its process. Transforming hard-to-recycle plastics into construction-grade blocks is so much simpler than trying to recover those plastics via a municipal recycling program. By the same token, industrial plastic recyclers around the country rely on simplicity for their success as well.

In Tennessee, Seraphim Plastics doesn’t make construction-grade blocks. Instead, they use a mechanical recycling process to transform things like plastic pallets and baled PET bottles into a material known as regrind. The regrind is sold to manufacturers who mix it with virgin plastic to make new products.

Seraphim Plastics’ success lies in the simplicity of its process – just like ByFusion. They found a quick and easy way to put scrap plastic back into the manufacturing stream and make a profit doing so. Meanwhile, they are keeping tons of scrap plastic out of landfills.

Recycling Isn’t a Bad Idea

In recent months there has been a growing chorus of complaints against plastic recycling. What was once touted as the solution to plastic waste is now being vilified as a waste of time and no solution at all. But today’s plastic recycling critics are just as shortsighted as yesterday’s plastic recycling proponents.

Recycling isn’t a bad idea. Plastic recycling only seems like a bad idea because we have used a decades-old approach that hasn’t worked from the very start. In fact, we have spent the better part of 30 years trying the same failed strategy and hoping for a different result. Of course it doesn’t work. But that does not mean recycling cannot work at all.

There Isn’t Just One Way

When it comes to plastic recycling, we have been victimized by our own shortsighted strategies. We have settled on one way to do it and assumed it is the only way. Unfortunately, that way really doesn’t work. But there are other ways to recycle plastic.

Transforming plastic waste into building blocks and regrind are great examples. There need to be more good ideas out there. So rather than complaining about plastic waste and declaring recycling dead, wouldn’t it be better to unleash the people with innovative ideas and let them come up with workable solutions? Absolutely.

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