A World Made of Plastic


Source: Kylie Mackinnon

Kylie MacKinnon, Writer

There are currently 8.3 billion tons of plastic sitting on our Earth right now. 


And of that 8.3 billion tons, 6.3 billion are sitting in landfills alone. 


Our world is covered in plastic, but there are ways to help make that a good thing. 


A current problem the world is facing is that poor populations in countries all over the world cannot afford the building materials to construct sound housing. Another problem- the overwhelming amount of plastic being sent to landfills every single day. In Kenya, a solution to both of these very important global problems is being created. Nzambi Matee is the founder of this solution. She heats trashed plastics and sand to create bricks, which are then used to build housing for the poverty-stricken populations of Kenya. 


The bricks are low-cost, and Matee is currently producing around 1000-15000 bricks per day. However, if this process becomes a larger industry, it is very possible that strong yet affordable housing for impoverished populations could become a reality for many countries. This idea led Matee to become the Young Champion of the Earth 2020 Africa winner, showing that there are so many ways that we can turn a problem into a solution. 


Another way that plastic is being used in architecture is through plastic flooring companies. Many companies, such as Bolon, use recycled materials like plastic to create durable and lasting flooring for houses, offices, and all other kinds of buildings. 100% of Bolon’s products contain recycled materials and 100% of the energy Bolon uses to create their flooring is renewable energy, meaning that the creation of these flooring materials has no negative impact on climate change whatsoever. 


Bolon is a Swedish company, however, they are a world-leading design company and have been creating sustainable creations since 1949. Bolon also offers rugs and carpet solutions made from recycled materials as well. This is yet another example of how a big problem can be solved through the advanced technology of today. 


A more known company making a significant contribution to the sustainability of our planet is Adidas. In 2015, Adidas opened a line of shoes made from recycled plastic obtained from our oceans. The company is using this recycled material in place of virgin plastics in order to lessen the amount of plastic being made in the world. The fibers are high performance and, as Adidas writes on their website, “[…] as good for the planet as it is for your workout.” You can visit the collections of recycled plastic shoes at these websites: Men’s Parley Shoes, Women’s Parley Shoes


Sand is the second most-consumed raw material on the planet. 


Sand is used for various purposes, and the severe coastal erosion that the world is facing currently is only contributing to the global sand shortage. The glass of windows and screens, the highways and streets, and even the building materials for most of our cities, such as bricks and pipes, are all made with sand.


Glass Half Full is another company looking to help turn a problem into a solution. Based in New Orleans, Louisiana, the founders of the company sought to create a glass recycling program. New Orleans did not have a glass recycling program before Glass Half Full, and anytime glass was found in the recycling bins of residents, all of the recyclables would be taken to a landfill. 


The world is suffering from both sand shortage and rapid coastal erosion. Glass Half Full offers a solution to both problems- a way for glass to be properly recycled in a large glass-producing city, and a way for coastal cities suffering from natural disasters or severe erosion to rebuild their beaches. 


Each of these companies is making a significant contribution to the increased sustainability of our society and ultimately our world. The Earth is in desperate need of more sustainable inventions and ideas like these, but luckily there are creative minds generating new ways to tackle global issues like climate change and pollution every day. With the help of consumers like you, taking the time to research sustainable products such as these will help fix some of the problems and hopefully someday solve some of the world’s most pressing issues.