A coalition of business students have devised a new method of producing building material that will help to resolve the pile up of plastic bottles in Jamaica, at least to the degree that they are able to commercialise and market the product.
Through a venture called Eco-Structures, the trio of civil engineer and part-time student Kristoffer Henry, business and law student Shanalee Cawley, and chemist and part-time student Tricia Bent have developed a way to repurpose plastic waste, specifically polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, by integrating it with materials, such as cement and stones, to make aggregates for use in developing building blocks.
PET is the same plastic used to make bottles for the drinks industry.
Eco-Structures, which calls its product ECO-Aggregate, says the idea came from brainstorming over business ventures to fulfil course requirements for their entrepreneurship class at the Mona School of Business & Management at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, in mid-2017.
"We were looking at general environmental issues and we were trying to determine how we could be part of a solution to resolve an issue that Jamaica is facing," said Cawley.
Led by Henry, the civil engineer, the group started experimenting with different mixtures and particle sizes.