Chicago — An environmentally focused business in Costa Rica has begun making construction blocks from a combination of recycled plastic and limestone.
The Center for Regenerative Design & Collaboration (CRDC) began making the blocks on a single extrusion line in late October, Don Thomson, the group's CEO, said Oct. 31 at Global Plastics Summit 2018 in Chicago.
The product has been labeled Ecoblock. It's made from plastic waste that's shredded after being collected from rivers in the region, Thomson added. He said that river plastic waste is harder to clean than ocean waste plastic, so activated calcium has to be used.
The finished product that's extruded into blocks is a resin-limestone hybrid that Thomson described as "an environmentally benign industrial feedstock."
Ecoblocks are 2.5-5 percent waste plastic by weight and 7-16 percent waste plastic by volume. The CRDC now can make around 4 million blocks per month. Thomson said the blocks can be used in low-cost housing.
"The goal of the project is to take a zero waste approach to the resin market," he added.
CRDC is working with local firms on the project as well as with the Dow Chemical Co. Thomson said he was contacted by Dow CEO Jim Fitterling after speaking at an industry conference. Thomson added that major cement companies have shown interest in Ecoblock.