Every year, Americans generate about 42 million tons of single-use plastics. And yet only 9% of that gets recycled, in part because the recycling infrastructure in the U.S. can’t keep up with the country’s plastic production, but also because some plastics simply can’t be recycled. Los Angeles-based startup ByFusion is on a mission to change that. ByFusion uses a combination of steam and compression to shape all kinds of plastics, even nonrecyclables, into standard building blocks called ByBlocks. These can be used to build anything from fences and retaining walls to public terraces and bus stops, but the real stars are the patented machines used to make them. Called Blockers, these hefty machines are fed mounds of plastic that are squeezed into blocks—no sorting or cleaning needed. After years of R&D, the company has installed a full production unit in L.A., where it can process 450 tons of plastic per year, with 12 more Blockers in the pipeline across the country.

To date, the company has recycled 103 tons of plastic, with a goal of recycling 100 million tons by 2030 (about a quarter of the U.S.’s annual plastic production.) ByFusion has already partnered with a host of cities, including Boise, Idaho, and Tucson, Arizona. In Lihue, on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, the company worked with an elementary school to build a pavilion with blocks made from locally collected marine debris and fishing nets. The ultimate goal? To sell Blocker machines to every city in the U.S. and abroad, helping municipalities take control of their plastic waste and turn it into building material.

ByBlocks come in a standard 16-by-8-by-8-inch building-block size and three variations: Some are molded with pegs so they can interlock; others are flat so builders can easily mount other components like a roof on top; and others are a combination of the two. ByFusion is also working on developing smaller, cube-size blocks.

To read the full story, visit https://www.fastcompany.com/90714272/this-startup-is-turning-non-recyclable-plastic-into-building-blocks-fit-for-construction.
Author: Elisssaveta M. Brandon, Fast Company
Image: ByFusion