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Reusing Waste In The Construction Of Africa’s Next-Generation Buildings


Jan. 11, 2023, 12:32 p.m.

Africa generates a significant amount of solid waste each year, with current estimates ranging from 143 million to over 290 million tons per year. This waste has a range of environmental impacts, including pollution of air, water, and soil, as well as habitat destruction and negative impacts on wildlife. In addition to these direct impacts, the improper disposal of waste can also contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

To address these issues, it is important to find ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle waste in Africa. One option for dealing with hard-to-recycle materials, such as plastic, is to use them in building materials. For example, plastic waste can be melted down and used as a substitute for traditional construction materials like concrete or wood. This not only helps to reduce the amount of waste in Africa, but it also has the potential to create new jobs and reduce the carbon footprint of the building industry.

This week’s innovation snapshot highlights three innovative startups that are on a mission to increase the use of waste in the construction of Africa’s next-generation buildings.


Kubik is a Kenyan startup that has developed technology to recycle plastic waste into building materials as a replacement for cement-based materials. The materials produced by Kubik's technology are at least 40% cheaper, twice as fast to build with, and five times less polluting than conventional materials. Kubik aims to focus its technology on affordable housing and public infrastructure sectors (schools, clinics, etc) and it has already secured a multi-million-dollar revenue pipeline. In June 2022, Kubik was named the African winner in the category of Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) Technology and Startup of the Year at the African Startup Awards. The company recently received an investment from GIIG Africa and is looking to scale its production capabilities in 2023 with the goal of recycling 45 metric tonnes of plastic waste per day and building roughly 5,000 affordable homes per year.

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Ecomak Recyclers

Ecomak Recyclers is a Ugandan startup that aims to improve waste management in refugee settlements, promote sustainability in local businesses, and encourage the circular economy. The company has developed a chemical-free and energy-saving exclusion technology called organo-technology that helps to increase the melting process of plastic while retaining the physical parameters of the plastic. The resulting plastic is used to make bricks that are two times stronger than traditional bricks, have zero breakages once used, and are long-lasting and durable. The bricks are also 30% cheaper than traditional bricks, making them attractive to real estate and construction companies.

Ecomak has created over 100 jobs for underserved women and youths in refugee communities and has collected and recycled over 30 tons of waste per month. The company plans to capture 1% of the $700 million construction market in Uganda in the next five years and expand to the rest of East Africa in two to three years.

The Noble Savage

The Noble Savage is a Zimbabwean startup that manufactures eco-friendly building materials using recycled waste plastic and waste glass. The company produces roofing tiles and other materials by blending waste plastic with sand to create a polymer resin-bonded product that is stronger and cheaper than traditional materials.

The Noble Savage also uses a blend of collected glass, concrete resin, and wood to create alternatives to granite, marble and caesarstone. Its founder, Msindazwe Ndhlovu, claims that their products are up to 30% cheaper than traditional materials and are lighter, stronger, and more durable.


tag: Africa, housing, Startup,

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