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Transforming plastic waste to roofs in Burkina Faso

in Waste Management by

If the project materialises, a whole population will be able to thank the genius of a young boy, who wanted to link ecology and improvement of living conditions. By collecting and merging tons of plastic waste that invade Ouagadougou, Calvin Tiam has succeeded in creating a new material that isolates four hundred times more than the simple metal sheet currently used on the top of the houses.

“The city of Ouagadougou produces 16,000 tons of plastic waste each year,” said Calvin Tiam, founder of TECO2 (Roofing ECOlogic and ECOnomics). The young engineer and entrepreneur wanted to remedy two evils well known in the Burkina Faso capital: the extreme pollution of plastic, but also the sheet metal roofs that turn the habitats into furnaces.

Photo Caroline grellier

Plastic is everywhere and it has no use anywhere, except during the first minutes of use that the human concedes to him. Burned massively by the submerged populations, it releases clouds of toxic smoke. Calvin Tiam found a fusion system rather than combustion, which allows eliminating some of the plastic of the landscape of Ouagadougou, without emitting fire or toxicity. It thus meets international standards and its prototype is on the way to being a revolution of recycling, under the sub-Saharan climate.

“Made locally, this material greatly enhances plastic waste polyethylene. A square meter of TECO2 coating represents approximately 10 kg of recovered plastic, a reduction of 9 kg CO2 equivalent of greenhouse gases in nature. ”

The challenge was to find a process that respects the environment, safety standards and local preferences – Tiam

In an area where the temperature is at least 30 degrees Celsius, sometimes 50 under the roofs of homes, Calvin Tiam’s invention would save a lot in terms of electricity (fans and air conditioning systems).

“The challenge was to find a process that respects the environment, safety standards and local preferences,” added the engineer. Calvin Tiam is supported by specialists based in France and they are currently seeking to finance the project, the prototype of which has already been approved.

If the investment he needs gets to him … and gives him the green light for the start of production, by 2018 he hopes to harvest about 500 tons of plastic waste per year. An alternative that would clean up an entire city, improve its comfort, purify the atmosphere.


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