Scrap Monster
Vulcan
Vulcan
June 04, 2019

Dow and Conceptos Plásticos are closing the loop by building schools out of plastic

Dow partnered with Colombian nonprofit Conceptos Plásticos to launch Aulas Verdes (Green Classrooms), a unique initiative that builds schools in under served communities using bricks made of plastic waste.
Dow and Conceptos Plásticos are closing the loop by building schools out of plastic

In 2016, the Colombian government identified a country-wide deficit of 30,000 schools, which was disproportionately impacting students in poor, rural or isolated areas. At the same time, the country was grappling with how to address the 36MM of waste it produces annually, only 17 percent of which is recycled.

To address these issues, Dow partnered with Colombian nonprofit Conceptos Plásticos to launch Aulas Verdes (Green Classrooms), a unique initiative that builds schools in underserved communities using bricks made of plastic waste. By leveraging innovative technology from Dow and Conceptos Plásticos, Aulas Verdes has built three schools in Columbia using 12 tons of hard-to-recycle plastic waste recovered through local cleanups that Dow is also supporting. Dow is committed to building 15 by the end of 2019 across Columbia.

This initiative helps address plastic waste in the following ways:

  • Each plastic school uses 4 metric tons of plastic waste
  • A production line of the construction system recovers 4K tons of plastic annually, equivalent to the reuse of 770 thousand liters of water, 535 thousand kilowatts of energy, 92 thousand m3 of sanitary landfills, 65 thousand barrels of oil and 13 thousand tons of CO2
  • The technology utilized by Aulas Verdes reduces 30 percent of CO2 emissions and generates 88 percent and 90 percent more emissivity and reflectance respectively
  • The construction process has low water consumption and zero waste generation
  • Dow could potentially divert 300 metric tons of plastic waste per month from landfills or nature
  • The process costs up to 30 percent less than traditional models

Aulas Verdes is an example of Dow’s global commitment to delivering scalable local solutions to plastic pollution and developing innovative applications for post-consumer plastic waste.