A Plea for help

We have been honored by an invitation to display at a very important event in Dallas in April.  As of right now we plan on having a finished shelter designed by Ronald Omyonga.  He will design and we will build an example of a shelter made for Nairobi Kenya.  We also want to have at least one plastic block press onsite with materials for visitors to participate in making recycled plastic blocks.

As most of you already know styrofoam and film (grocery sacks) plastics are not wanted for traditional recycling.  At most recycling centers that handle home pick up recycling these items are sorted and then sent to the landfill.  Allied Waste aka Republic Recycling center in Plano Texas will give me recyclable plastics for the blocks.  I don’t want to use that because I want to use the stuff that is destined for the landfill.

That’s where I need help.  If you live in the north east of Dallas area, close to Wylie, and you want to participate I want your film plastics, grocery bags etc.  I also want your clean styrofoam stuff.  This can be anything from peanuts used in packing, the big foam blocks that protect electronics during shipping, to go foam dishes and cups, foam and film plastic packages for groceries like meats and vegetables, and let’s not forget those foam egg cartons. 

I want them clean if at all possible.  It won’t take you but a minute to rinse them off before you bag them for me.  The reason for that is the blocks made with these products will be handled by the public, specifically college students. 

As more information becomes available we will pass it on about the event.  It is an unbelievable opportunity for us and we want it to take full advantage of the exposure.  If we can build the shelter and demonstrate with stuff destined for the landfill because it doesn’t already have recyclable value it will be even better.

One more thing, we get about two  to two and a half blocks from each large green plastic trash bag of material.  If you want to see the process and participate making blocks we would appreciate that help too.  Especially if you bring along the kiddos.  That would be the best thing of all, starting them young to be responsible consumers and citizens. 

One other thing while you’re feeling so generous, I want to share some of these blocks with the public for them to use to share the vision of making homes for the third world that are good homes.  Not just shelters, homes.

  • Superpacker

    Hi Folks

    This is an interesting idea. I just got back from a Habitat from Humanity build in El Salvador and there is plactic trash everywhere. Folks just open-air burn it or discard it to clutter up the environment. This soulnds like a potentially viable alternative.

    Here’s one question though. In a humid/rainy environment like central America, what happens when the wire rusts through? Do the blocks/walls of the house explode? Or do you use a non-corrosive wire?

    • We’re using twelve gauge galvanized wire. But we have no control over what they will be using at other locations.

      I believe your observation is a very good point to consider. I believe we have it covered.

      The first barrier resisting failure is the plaster over the blocks. One of the interesting things about the blocks is everywhere they will be used they already have a tradition of covering ugly with a plaster. There are thousands of formulas for plaster, usually locally specific.

      The second barrier is the adjoining blocks. The third is the wires tying the wall to the foundation. Those wires capture the top plate and secure it to the foundation with the wall itself being the meat in the sandwich you might say.

      I believe this system will be perfect for Central and South America. It gives them a chance to build good permanent houses for minimal cost.

      A month from now we will have a full sized model on a major university campus. Please keep in touch. We’re on fb under ubuntu-blox.