Who We Are
We are the Plastic Brick Project, Here is our Story!
It was not anything that I could imagine, living in Portland Oregon, the extent of plastic pollution in countries that have been colonized and many of their resources taken away. But when there is no money for street sweepers, the streets don’t get swept.
I saw a photograph of a small stream not far from where I live now, that was so full of plastic that I couldn’t see the water. I was thrilled and thought I could clean up the plastic and make a big visual difference in this beautiful country that has adopted me. Over time, a great deal of time, I was make aware of how stubborn I have become and with what felt like single minded determination, we (Plastic Brick Project) were invited to the private property where we could remove the plastic. Lorenzo and I went to see how to best make use of this exciting opportunity, and took one truck load of the plastic to our shop where we grind it into small enough pieces that it can be added to a concrete block, or brick, or paving stone, or almost anything else and become a substitute for sand. It takes time and money to remove plastic from the environment, and as a result it has gotten out of control in many parts of the world. And sometimes it feels like the only reason it isn’t out of control in every part of the world is the wealthiest countries ship their waste to poorer countries.
Guatemala is neither, so wealthy it can ship it’s trash to another country, or so desperate it needs to except the plastic trash of wealthy countries. It has it’s own litter, and a few people with brooms to sweep the streets.
I wonder where it goes now that China refuses it and Malaysia is shipping it back to the wealthy countries when it’s mislabeled, and can’t be processed with the available technology.
Anyway an extremely forward thinking company, MACIZO is starting to substitute some of the plastic we process for the sand in their products. They, of course, have tested to make sure the structural integrity of their products is not adversely affected by helping to repair the planet. And Progresso Cemento is testing the long term affects of salt, an issue for plastic from the ocean, and other contaminates and their affect on the integrity of concrete products. As far as I know they are the first large commercial enterprise that is taking a large and leading roll in restoring the environment, as we have been awarded the opportunity to supply them with the processed plastic we are thrilled and in the process of expanding to meet their needs, or more correctly the wants of the building material buying public.
To that end we are in the process of forming a NGO in both Guatemala and the USA so we’ll have a better chance of meeting the economic needs of setting up plastic processing facilities. The awkward truth is if the cost of cleaning the planet is not shared it will not happen. If a dozen people sent the money that they spent on lunch, that money would cover the wages of one person working to clean the environment for one week, and little by little the fish will fly and the birds will swim in a better environment, not to mention our children!