With the Project:
The Casas Melhoradas project seeks to develop sustainable and affordable housing, aimed at using space and infrastructure more economically. It is a sustainable urban development initiative, implemented in the low-income urban settlements of Maputo, Mozambique. The project has set up a plastic recycling workshop in Maputo and is currently developing beams made of recycled plastic for low-cost construction of roof structures.
New homes are built everyday due to rapid population growth of about 5% per year. The quality of construction is often low and the lifespan of buildings is generally short. The wood used in the roof structures is typically pinewood or spruce imported from South Africa. Plastic waste is widespread in low-income urban areas in Maputo where waste collection is minimal, posing a significant negative environmental impact. There are limited initiatives to handle or recycle plastic waste at the central landfill and much of the plastic waste ends up in the sea, with negative consequences for the environment.
Construction methods have been developed utilising plastic waste as a building material. The focus is on the production of plastic beams that can replace the use of the more expensive South African pinewood rafters in roof structures. This kind of material is problematic since it is prone to decay, damage by insects, and fungi. Several models of roof structures have already been built and the production of prototypes will be continued in order to identify the most appropriate solutions.
Sustainable production methods are employed that help to recycle plastic waste. The use of plastic waste in construction is not easy, but some sustainable construction methods have been found. In addition, conventional technologies are used in order to turn waste into buildings which not only reduces plastic waste but also provides the communities with affordable houses.
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