This New Construction-Grade Building Material Recycles the World’s Worst Plastics
ByFusion Global is using discarded plastic to make an eco-friendly alternative to standard concrete blocks.
Plastic is a massive contributor to global waste and pollution. In fact, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) states 91 percent of the plastics produced worldwide are not recycled. Among the biggest contributors to global plastic waste are single-use plastics. These everyday items are made from petrochemicals from the fossil fuel industry and are meant to be discarded right after they’re used. Some common examples include water bottles, straws, plastic bags, and product packaging. The routine use of these plastics is staggering in scale, with an approximate 150 million tons of single-use plastics being produced each year, according to the NRDC. While there have been mounting calls to ban single-use plastics, they still remain in use worldwide.
Now, California-based company ByFusion Global is giving these troublesome plastics a second chance by transforming them into a construction-grade material that can replace concrete blocks. ByFusion’s innovative process takes advantage of plastic waste’s abundance, using it to revolutionize the construction industry with a new product: ByBlocks.
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How Are ByBlocks Created?
ByBlocks are made using recycled plastic—and even plastics typically considered to be unrecyclable. ByFusion claims it’s a zero-waste process, with 1 ton of plastic waste producing 1 ton of ByBlocks. The plastics used to create ByBlocks don’t even need to be cleaned or sorted, reducing the energy that goes into production. ByBlocks don’t contain any fillers or adhesives—they’re made entirely of discarded plastic. A single ByBlock is made from 22 pounds of plastic, preventing that waste from ending up in a landfill.
How Can They Be Used?
ByBlocks come in two sizes: standard and flat, both of which are similar to concrete masonry units (CMUs). Standard ByBlocks measure 15-3/4 by 7-7/8 by 8-5/8 inches, and they are designed to be used for most purposes. Flat ByBlocks are slightly shorter, measuring 15-3/4 by 7-7/8 by 8 inches, and are intended for finishing. They are designed to interlock together, eliminating the need for mortar or and other adhesives.
While standard concrete blocks tend to crack and crumble over time, ByFusion says ByBlocks are stronger and more durable. They are water-resistant and capable of handling high pressure without cracking or crumbling. Additionally, installing concrete blocks requires specialized skills, whereas ByBlock installation does not. This could cut down on labor costs for projects of any size when using ByBlocks.
ByFusion recommends using its product to build retaining walls, sheds, privacy fences, furniture, and more. Because they’re made from a variety of different recycled plastics, no two ByBlocks look alike. Their unique appearance makes an aesthetic statement, but the blocks can also be concealed with common finishing materials, like stucco, drywall, plaster, siding, and paneling.
How Can ByBlocks Be Purchased?
ByFusion currently does not sell its products directly to consumers, but they are available for preorder. Instead, the company has created a scalable production process and sells its technology to communities around the world so they can turn their waste into ByBlocks. ByFusion does, however, offer decorative items, furniture, and structures that can be purchased on its website.