Sabrina and her long-time friend Tan Novita were determined to find ways to recycle these discarded packets.
“We chose to make building materials because Ovy’s family owns a paving brick-making factory. So, to some extent, we have the knowledge and resources to start producing recycled bricks and not start our business completely from nothing,” the other co-founder Novita said.
But despite having the experience and machinery necessary to make conventional concrete bricks, producing the construction material out of multi-layered plastics proved to be a challenge.
The 35-year-old former NGO worker said that Rebricks first experimented by melting multi-layered plastics to create paving bricks. “But the process produces toxic fumes. It was also so complicated that we could only produce two square meters of bricks a day,” she said.
The pair then tried producing bricks completely out of cement mixed with shredded plastics. But the end product was in a paving brick which could easily crumble and left finely shredded plastics polluting the soil underneath.
They finally settled on creating bricks with two layers. The top layer – the one which comes into frequent contact with automobiles, pedestrians, and the elements – is completely made out of concrete, while the bottom layer is produced out of a plastic and cement mixture.
In November 2019, after one-and-a-half years of experimenting, Rebricks finally launched its first line of paving brick products.
Rebricks had to make compromises, sacrificing the amount of trash they can compress into a single brick to gain structural integrity and keep prices competitive.
“Today, our bricks contain 20 percent waste. We wish we could put in more (plastic), but we have to consider our products’ quality and production cost. But we will continue to innovate and improve (the bricks’ waste) percentage,” Sabrina said.
Novita added that although the percentage might seem small, Rebricks can already recycle up to 88,000 discarded food packets every day.
According to The Stringer