According to ByFusion, Globally, over 300M tons of plastic waste is currently being generated annually but less than 8% is being recycled. They also state that over 276M tons are incinerated or sent to landfills impacting our environment, oceans and waterways.

But the good news is, there are innovators and organisations out there who upcycle plastic waste to turn it into something of value. Here are some examples:

1. Conceptos Plásticos, Colombia

Focusing on transforming plastic waste into construction material for permanent housing, Conceptos Plásticos creates much-needed building materials for communities to establish a physical infrastructure. The startup just won the Chivas Regal’s “The Venture” 2016 award, wich is an international contest open to social entrepreneurs who are using their business as a force for good. (More about the contest here)

Colombia builds houses with blocks made of discarded plastics

2. ByFusion, New Zealand

 New Zealand-based inventor and engineer Peter Lewis wanted to give used plastic a permanent purpose and created ByFusion. ByFusion is a 100% modular technology platform that converts all types of waste plastic into a new building material called RePlast.

This company is building houses from old plastic

3. Samarpan Foundation, India

Samarpan Foundation uses a unique construction method that provides impoverished communities and disaster areas across India, Nepal and Africa the opportunity to construct affordable dwellings, recycle waste and create sustainable futures.

Rebuild it Better: Construction From Recycled Plastic Bottles Proven to Withstand 9.8 Earthquake

4. Up-fuse, Egypt

Up-fuse is a Egyptian social startup that promotes eco-conscious lifestyles by designing and producing quality upcycled products, made by local artisans in Egypt, providing them to the international market.

Their products, varying from bags, backpacks, cases, and luggage, are all made of up-cycled plastic bags, and eco-friendly materials. (Read more about them in a previous cover story on my blog here.)

“Buy low, sell high” is the underlying business model for upcycling companies such as TerraCycle. They buy raw source materials (waste) at low-cost and charge premium prices for their fashionable, environmentally-friendly upcycled products. But that’s not all. The upcycling companies’ business partners also benefit because their scrap waste is being reused. Instead of having to pay someone to haul their waste away, someone is actually paying for it and taking it off their hands.” – Tripleundit, Cash for Trash, 2012

5. MyShelter Foundation, Liter of Light, The Philippes

MyShelter Foundation aims to brighten up one million homes around the world by the end of 2017. The movement started in Manila, The Philippes by entrepreneur lllac Diaz. With soil filled PET bottles, they started to build schools at low-cost and developed a simple technique to build solar bulbs to light houses. The foundation trains unemployed and prisoners the imply, yet necessary skills so they can earn an income.

How Can Plastic Bottles Light A Million Homes


If you are also interested to start upcycling, here are some sources with DIY upcycling ideas and inspirations:

  1. Upcycle That
  2. Lifehack