Production of eco-friendly roofing materials from plastic waste

Background Information

In Zimbabwe, the Chinhoyi University of Technology and Kudiwa Waste and Energy Solutions (KWES) have teamed up to prototype and then produce solar roofing tiles from plastic waste composite material. By creating a demand for plastic waste as feedstock for the roof tiles, the project plays a vital role in supporting the increased collection of plastic waste and improved revenues for existing waste collectors.

The scaled manufacture of the roof tiles brings several advantages, including waste collection in underserved areas and diverting plastics from formal and informal dumpsites where open incineration is often the most widely practised means of disposal. The solar photovoltaic aspect to the roof tiles provides an affordable, sustainable clean energy solution in a region where energy supplies are critically low. The project is anticipated to contribute to Greenhouse gas reductions through avoided incineration and clean energy supply in the long term. The project has the economic advantages of promoting livelihoods for plastic waste pickers looking for local markets in an environment with limited income opportunities. The solar roof tiles will also bridge the energy access gap in Zimbabwe from the limited reliability of the electricity supply.

Updates

Between January and April 2024, the project contributed to the removal of over 11 tonnes of plastic from the environment. This plastic was collected by waste pickers in the area, 35 of whom were women – the most women waste pickers the project has seen to date – and sold to the KWES Facility for processing. A total of 47 households benefitted directly and indirectly from funds generated from the plastic waste sales done at KWES.

Despite facing real contextual challenges around an unstable national power supply, the project team managed to improve production efficiency and reduce the production costs of their roof tiles without compromising the product’s quality. This was done through new formulations, the use of low-priced plastic and increased energy-use efficiency.

Plans are currently underway to improve the product’s visibility as well as knowledge sharing to a wider audience. The roof tiles were recently posted on X (Twitter) and received enormous interest, prompting the development of a dedicated website to improve the product’s media presence. This reaction indicated the massive market potential of the product. At the end of 2023, five potential clients visited the production site and expressed their need for the product, and at the start of 2024, a property developer indicated a keen interest in the product.

Going forward, the intentions is to acquire a mould for developing ridge caps. These ridge caps will allow the establishment of showhouses to prove the product’s concept and to obtain accreditation, and market the product for future sales.

Connect with Production of eco-friendly roofing materials from plastic waste

Websites

Timeframe

Jan 2022 – April 2024

Status

Active

Countries of Implementation

Consortium Partners

Kudiwa Waste and Energy Solutions

Showcase Resources

Production of eco-friendly roofing materials from plastic waste: Project Profile Sheet

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