Whether you are adding a room, renovating your house, or starting from the scratch, construction is a tedious and time-taking procedure. With the burgeoning demand for construction, not only individuals, but even the companies are looking forward to materials that are efficient, durable, and cost-effective.
Recycled plastic is one such material that has brought about a paradigm shift in the way a number of materials are being used in the construction industry. Being a low-cost alternative to other materials, the use of recycled plastic in construction helps save energy and landfill space. When combined with virgin plastic, recycled plastic helps reduce cost significantly without compromising on the final results. Additionally, it is a sustainable construction material that contributes immensely to environmental sustainability through recyclability and energy recovery options.
Since green building designs have made their mark in the construction sector, the developers are increasingly opting for materials that are more energy-efficient. Consequently, recycled plastics are being used in new buildings and construction applications almost every day now.
According to Agnelorajesh Athaide, Chairman, St. Agnelo VNCT Ventures, “Even as we grapple with the challenges of plastic pollution and recycling, the real estate sector has been working hard towards utilising plastic waste as a potential raw material for construction. Globally, the construction plastics market had been valued at USD 75.6 billion in 2018. It is expected to reach USD 128.12 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 6.9 % percent. Indian developers, too, are considering plastic for construction as it is a safe, lightweight and low-cost material that can be used for seals, profiles (windows and doors), pipes, cables, floor coverings, and insulation. Factors such as thrust on sustainable building practices, cost-effectiveness, and technological advancement in infrastructure are all contributing to the increasing demand for plastic in the construction industry.”
Echoing similar sentiments, Kshitij Nagpal, President, Association of Property Professional, Delhi NCR, avers, “Plastic is unavoidable in construction or even in regular life. While recent studies have educated the masses about the harmful effects of plastic, there is a huge potential in using treatable or biodegradable plastic commodities for construction. However, plastic being safe to use is slightly expensive as compared to other materials.”
With high standards of finishing and aesthetic required by our aware users, it is essential to give them the best in terms of life span and least toxicity of products used in construction.
Here are the top five ways in which recycled plastic is being used for construction purposes:
PVC windows are specifically produced from high-grade Poly Vinyl Chloride. Such type of windows have especially gained prominence because they are easy to design and can adapt to multiple varying styles. Being primarily made up of plastic, the frames of these windows are 100 percent recyclable. These can be recycled several times and be used again in new windows. PVC windows are not only known to have a longer lifespan, but these also provide the same insulation quality as regular windows. Other than rubber and plasticised PVC, plastic can also be used to seal modern windows.
Plastic, being the biggest culprit, when it comes to waste production, accounts for nearly 90 percent of the total waste that accumulates in our seas and oceans. There is a persistent stream of innovative ideas to tackle this mounting issue, and making bricks out of plastic is one among them. Known to fasten up the construction work as compared to the traditional bricks, recycled bricks made up of plastic are considered to be fire-resistant, cost-effective, and even eco-friendly. Additionally, these are lighter in weight and have superb heat-insulating properties.
Roof tiles made up of recycled plastic is not only inexpensive but also high-quality and cost-effective. These are lightweight in comparison to traditional asbestos slates and resistant to UV radiations. With multiple advantages such as attractive appearance, extended durability, good sound insulation, and easy processing, roofing tiles having plastic as content, are quite common nowadays. These are even easy to install and clean than the conventional slate counterparts.
Very few of us know that recycled plastic can also be used to produce long-lasting products such as carpets. Over the past few years, the manufacturers have been able to make carpet fibres with the help of recycled plastic such as the plastic used in the production of beverage bottles. Reportedly, it takes near about 50 two-litre bottles to produce one square yard of carpet fibre. Unlike other carpets, the carpets made up of plastic are stain-resistant and colour-fast.
Designing fences from recycled plastic is another great way to become sustainable in your approach. Fencing products made up of plastic are manufactured using High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), which originates from plastic products, including detergent bottles and milk jugs. When used for commercial properties, these provide significant benefits such as protection from insects, choice of colours and profiles, durability, resistance to vandalisation, and low-maintenance.
Several States have approved the use of plastic waste for construction of roads. Other than this, it is also being used for indoor insulation and production of structural lumbar and stronger concrete.