Can These Plastic Bricks Save Our World | Op-Ed

INSIDER Design and some other websites have recently shared “ByFusion” with a starter program on Indigo, with the title “Transforming Plastic to Save Our Planet”. The video can be seen here.

For those of you who have not seen it, the campaign claims that they are able to take all 7 types of plastic (of which 3 are the most common to actually be recycled) and turn it into blocks that can then be fit-for-purpose with the stress on construction. The Indiegogo page talks about the plastic crisis,  where people were actually able to contribute to the business.

It’s a pretty cool campaign that I have been able to see on many of my friends’ facebooks- who are both active and inactive in their daily lives towards sustainability. But can these bricks really save our world? Personally, I’m leaning toward no- here’s why.

Without going through the entire process of how plastics are recycled (Source) there are so many chemicals that go into the processes which deems it energy deficient and of course gives it the coined phrase by environmentalists “down-cycled” since it does not produce the same quality plastic it was originally in. ByFusion promises that the plastics are being “up-cycled” through a low emission and non-toxic process. Think in terms of the old saying, “What goes in is what must come out.” It’s great that ByFusion has technology that is non-toxic, but the problem is that the toxins are already in the plastic. If the plastic’s toxins are not being excreted before being placed in the “re-plast blocks” as they are named, then they are sitting in the bricks being excreted by time.. potentially in your home or whatever structure they are securing…cozy!

My other main concern for these structures is that they are made of plastic.. although they never fully degrade they do decompose in some way over time- what will that mean for the structure? I don’t have an answer for this, it isn’t talked about on their page in terms of wear, tare and repair. I am also not an architect or civil engineer to give an educated guess answer. I do understand that houses normally have some rot- since it is made of wood. This is remedied from removing the rot, adding wood hardener, and adding new wood for support- would the process be similar?

Also important to note- currently the ByFusion machine is powered through gas or electricity, although they are looking at trying to make solar powered ones. At the end of the day, we are continuing to use resources we don’t have to try to remedy a huge problem we created.

Overall, my major problem with things like this going viral is that it gives people a false sense of security that if we just wait long enough, a solution may come around and we won’t need to change our plastic consuming ways. It’s important to keep our eyes on the present and future as it’s currently projected. The only ones that can save ourselves is every single one of us making a difference.

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