An environmentalist’s dream is to take lots of earth-dirtying, futile plastic trash and make it usable once more.
ByFusion, a Los Angeles-based start-up, is turning that vision into reality. The company has created a system to collect the most harmful plastic waste, items that are impossible to recycle.
The company, founded in 2017, has built a machine that produces a so-called “ByBlock” from single-use plastic. Similar in shape and size to concrete blocks used in construction, ByBlocks are made entirely from recycled plastic waste.
“You’d be astounded at the things that cannot be recycled, which is basically everything you touch… stuff like pens, toothbrushes,” said CEO of ByFusion, Heidi Kujawa, in an interview with CNN Business.
“The interesting thing about our technology is we specifically, entirely designed our system around the low value, no value stuff, everything that can’t be recycled.”
In her research on plastic waste, Kujawa discovered that there are seven types of plastic – and out of that, only two can be recycled.
“In the past, it used to go to China and other places that would buy it from us,” she stated. “That dried up in 2017. Since then, we’ve been burning or burying that plastic.”
The machine developed by ByFusion, known as the Blocker System, converts the trash into building blocks without sorting or pre-washing them, a big struggle in plastic recycling.
After the waste collection, it takes mere minutes to rip the plastics and fuse them into solid blocks utilizing steam and compression. The blocks are developed without additives or fillers – ratio: 22 pounds of plastic make 22 pounds of ByBlock bricks.
“We’ve modeled our ByBlocks around the dimensions of a hollow cement block. Each is a 16-inch by 8-inch by 8-inch unit,” stated Kujawa, and every brick is around 10 pounds lighter than a standard cement block.
A cement block possesses rebar; however, ByBlocks utilizes a process known as post-tensioning, which needs a steel rod. As a sustainable substitute for creating material, the reused plastic can now be utilized for commercial, residential, and infrastructure projects, according to Kujawa.
The business wishes to collaborate with local governments, municipalities, and corporations. It’s currently selling its Blocker System and completed ByBlocks but didn’t particularly reveal the number of customers or sales so far.
“From the very beginning, we knew we wanted to be as carbon neutral as possible. So, our block, our systems, and our manufacturing process is an all-electric, no emissions process today,” stated Kujawa.
According to her, the very objective is to bring the Blocker System to communities globally and allow them to reuse plastic trash for local building projects. ByFushion looks forward to repurposing 100 million tons of plastic by 2030.
“Every community struggles with plastic waste,” said Kujawa. “Putting in a Blocker [System] is going to help reduce landfill, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce transportation needs, all of the other good stuff.”