The world is facing environmental danger like never before, with plastic waste standing to outlast and pollute the planet. On the other hand, there is the issue of providing adequate housing facilities for all.
Norway-based Othalo wants to address both problems at once with its technology that allows for building elements to be made of 100% recycled plastic.
To make that happen, the company has teamed-up with architect Julien De Smedt and the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN Habitat) to launch an initiative called “Housing for ALL: A better Urban Future” with the goal of promoting sustainable, adequate and affordable shelter for all.
Othalo promises to develop its first series of building elements and designs for low-cost homes project starting in Sub-Saharan Africa and expects to start mass production by 2022. The company’s founder, Frank Cato Lahti, has been working on developing the patented technology in partnership with experts in SINTEF and University in Tromsø since 2016, and has now partnered with Julien De Smedt and Young Global Leader of World Economic Forum, Silje Vallestad, for this new venture. Smedt, one of the principal architects of the project, expressed his keen desire to come up with new solutions which can incorporate manufacturing and local living.
Othalo’s process involves shredding plastic waste and mixing it with other elements, including non-flammable materials. Components are used to build up to four floors, with a home of 60 square meters using eight tons of recycled plastic. A factory with one production line can produce 2,800 housing units annually.
It is estimated that with the amount of plastic waste produced, more than a billion houses can be built. The technology will extend its product line to making features like temperature controlled mobile storage units for food and medicine, refugee shelters, and larger modular buildings (schools, hospitals, etc.). The manufacturing of all Othalo systems is planned to take place onsite, which will also create opportunities for livelihoods for the people living there, in the process.
The 60m2 Othalo houses will use a patented system for the main structure and incorporate around eight tonnes of plastic waste, most of which will be collected from near the building sites.
The homes have been designed to be a low-cost option for sub-Saharan Africa. Eventually, however, the designers hope to build temperature-controlled mobile storage units for food and medicine, as well as refugee shelters and larger modular buildings such as schools and hospitals. The designers hope that the system will allow millions of tonnes of plastic waste to become useful building material.
Although Othalo and its partners are initially targeting sub-Saharan Africa, perhaps your municipality could contact them to bring some of that tech to your area. It could help solve the looming housing crisis for those in need. We're sure that something could be done as Othalo would certainly like to see its creation being used all over the world. On the other hand, by creating affordable housing units, you get to score some political points and potentially advance your career. It's a clear win-win for everyone.
Although Othalo and its partners are initially targeting sub-Saharan Africa, perhaps you could contact them to bring some of that tech to the municipalities your company serves. It could help solve the looming housing crisis for those in need. We're sure that something could be done as Othalo would certainly like to see its creation being used all over the world. On the other hand, by creating affordable housing units, you get to actually help cities and towns you do business with. It's a clear win-win for everyone.