Abhishek Banerjee, a 22-year-old Construction Engineering student from Kolkata came up with a Make in India solution to plastic recycling and make use of the plastic waste to make plastic bricks. According to a report, India produces over 25,000 tonnes of plastic waste daily, much of which results in landfills. After immense research and teaming up with his fellow mates, Abhishek started Plastiqube, a construction brick made entirely from plastic waste.
Abhishek Banerjee pursued his undergraduate degree in Construction Engineering from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. And he is currently pursuing his M.Sc in Management from Nyenrode Business University, Netherlands. He also completed his global management program from S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai, India.
Abhishek also has work experience of 2 years in the construction industry as a technical consultant driving sales for fire protection products in East India.
During a high school field trip to a brick kiln in West Bengal, the poor working conditions and risks in the brick clay industry caught his attention. He was also surprised by the environmental implications of this industry. For instance, burnt-clay brick production is a high pollution industry using fundamental production technologies that consume 35-40 million tonnes of coal every year.
Both shocked and inspired by the social conditions he came across in this industry, Abhishek decided to set out on a journey to change the world. He set his eyes on plastic recycling and tackle plastic waste.
Plastiqube – Mission to Change the World
Qube, a social enterprise, was started by four budding entrepreneurs named Abhishek Banerjee, Agnimitra Sengupta, Ankan Poddar, and Utsav Bhattacharya. Their primary aim is to change the world, one brick at a time. The major focus of the company is to develop construction bricks made of plastic waste by recycling plastic waste. By doing so, they are addressing the plastic waste disposal issue and empowering the workers subjected to abysmal working conditions in the traditional burnt-clay brick sector in India.
Qube has teamed up with several waste collectors to gather plastic waste from dustbins and junkyards from the locality. After the collection of the plastic waste, the further process such as cleaning, shredding, and heating is done and then compressed into bricks.
Qube is grateful for being supported and endorsed by Jadavpur University as well as India’s Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise. Each Plastiqube brick costs Rs. 5 – 6 which is 8 cents whereas average clay bricks cost around Rs. 10 which is 10 cents. One unique quality of Plastiqube is that they don’t use mortar-like traditional bricks.
Starting with a mission in mind to change the way we build, Plastiqube started making bricks out of plastic wastes. The best part about these bricks is that they do not need the use of any mortar as it has an interlocking effect. We can interlock it because of the presence of grooves on its surface. The mechanism of these bricks is like that of Lego bricks.
Some additional features of the Plastiqube bricks are:
- Light-weight [50% lighter]
- High durability [Non-biodegradable]
- Plastic agnostic [Recycles all grades of plastic]
- Water repellent [No efflorescent]
- Thermal and sound insulating properties
Plastiqube requires no plasterwork and uses less cement. They help in faster construction work using fewer workers. As the entire process is done at a comparatively lower cost, which makes it cost-effective and is eco-friendly too. The energy required for making Plastiqube is around 70 percent less than that of traditional bricks.
The Success Story
Abhishek’s praiseworthy hard work and dedication have earned him deserving recognition. He was a regional finalist for the United Nation’s 2018 Young Champions of Earth Awards. All the four founders were named among Forbes “30 under 30” Social Entrepreneurs for Asia. He’s also a part of Yunus and Yunus Global Fellowship, which trains and supports young social entrepreneurs.
To know more about Abhishek Banerjee, please check – LinkedIn.