The Chinhoyi University Project
The Chinhoyi University of Technology, Zimbabwe and Kudiwa Waste and Energy Solutions 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.
Despite facing real contextual challenges around an unstable national power supply, the team has produced over 300 rooftiles. They have used these prototypes to construct a model roof for exhibitions and demonstrations purposes. The project team is liaising with several platinum mining companies to try and get plastic waste from their blasting processes. Stakeholder engagement is ongoing to try and foster linkages with major plastic waste producers in our area to ensure consistent feedstock supplies and they are actively enhancing the practicalities of separation of waste at source a. The team has also taken part in several community engagement activities, including the training of several urban and rural CBOs involved in waste picking and separation.