With plastic straws, bags and plates and some creativity they create ships, houses, buildings, playgrounds, stables, bridges, patches, dollhouses and any kind of furniture.
Econciencia is a company dedicated to construction and reuse of plastic residues, that are converted into synthetic wood or „Greendeck“, instead of ending up in the trashcans of households and enterprises.
This material, as a product of recycling, according to John Berrío López director of Econciencia, does not cause any impact on the environment. It is cheap, practical and resistant to most environmental conditions. „We take the plastic, we transform it, we give a new value to it and then we give it back to society. We don’t want to set a trend, what we are aiming for is for people to acquire the habit of recycling. Plastic is not a waste, but a natural product deriving from petrol and it has to be used in an appropriate form.“, Berrío tells us.
In his opinion there has not been taken full advantage of the potential of organic and inorganic residues – in agriculture, design, arquitecture and energy generation – in Colombia and in Latinamerica.
Precisely following the interest of giving a social solution to the industrial reuse of residues, he founded Planta Verde in 1999, a cooperative, that works with recyclists searching for better economic and operational conditions for them.
„We started from cero, learing how to seperate the residues with them, searching through the trash cans and thinking about how to improve their life conditions. Planeta Verde is the school, that permits us to learn about the issue of residues.“, said the engineer and environmentalist.
Later on in 2005, Berrío and a group of partners created Geofuturo, a company dedicated to integrative management of organic, inorganic and toxic residues. Henceforward Berrío started investigating a new way of recycling recollected materials.
With this objective he also found Ecociencia, whose fundamental vision is the creation of apartments and buildings of social interest, built 100% from recycled platics.
With the reutilization of plastic material the company seeks to prevent the non-application of useful material and to reduce the consumption of raw material and energy and water use. Furthermore it causes less air pollution and emission of greenhouse-gases in comparison with the production of plastics.
„The first apartment of social interest was my house. We tended to build a cheap apartment to lend it to the group EPM, but when the group ended I noticed that the apartment could be bigger, fresher and more comfortable“, relates Berrío.
At the moment Ecociencia is building the first building with three floors only from recycled plastic. For Berrío it is a effective solution for the deficit in housing, that the country is confronted with, because it is cheap, simple, fast and offers multiple designing possibilities.
Precisely this year the municipality of Rionegro, in the east of Antioqueño, claimed resources for the construction of the first six apartments of recycled plastics, that will be constructed for recyclists of the region.
Barrío explained that the unity of contruction is based in panels, that allow for joining the pieces like Lego for adults. It permits that the edification can be altered in unlimited forms.
To construct more buildings from recycled plastic and create awareness for the importance of recycling, the company started a campaign that is called „Fill a bottle with love“, that consists in people, who are part of the company, filling a bottle with plastic residues.
„Our interest is, that people become aware of the fact, that all together we can change the consumption habits of the planet, because we can’t continue consuming the natural resources as we do it now. Everybody has to contribute something.“, said Berrío.
Paola Morales Escobar