This article originally featured in The Skylark’s newsletter and was written as a condensed news in brief.
It is estimated that India’s 140,000 brick kilns burn 15 to 20 million tonnes of coal each year, releasing over 40m tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. Furthermore, over 25,000 tonnes of plastic waste is thrown away every day, of which 40% is left uncollected.
A local team has subsequently developed a new brick that utilises waste plastics and requires no kilns. The so-called Plastiqube is made from 1.6kg of waste plastics, which are gathered, cleaned, shredded and pressed into blocks manually.
Each brick costs 5 to 6 rupees (£0.06) compared to 10 rupees per clay alternative. Plastiqubes are also designed to slot together using interlocking grooves, negating the need for mortar.
Thought to be more durable than traditional clay, the bricks are currently being trialled for fire resistance and long-term durability. By taking kilns and mortar out of the brick-making process, this innovative replacement hopes to reduce energy use by 70%.