Vietnamese students produce bricks from polystyrene waste
These bricks appear no different to those being sold at the market, so few would realise they are actually made from polystyrene. It can be synthesised from processing single-use cups and food containers, which are common around Vietnam.
The polystyrene bricks are made under the innovative Octoplastic project conducted by students in the Chemistry faculty at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Science.
They came up with the idea of turning plastic waste into useful materials given the unpleasant truth that Vietnam ranks fourth globally in terms of plastic waste discharged into the ocean.
These non-heated bricks go through three major steps to achieve their final shape and texture. First, plastic cups and meal containers are cut into small pieces. They are then poured into cement and water, with the mixture placed in a mould and allowed to dry for 24 hours.
The Octoplastic project is highly regarded by experts thanks to its practicality and commerciality. According to scientists, the bricks are light, durable, highly soundproof, and have insulating properties.
Vietnam dumps nearly 2 million tons of plastic waste every year. Less than 30% is recycled. Projects such as Octoplastic are therefore welcomed to address the country’s plastic waste problem.
The project won second prize at a contest seeking innovative ideas for a plastic-free ocean, held recently by UNESCO./.