Buildings made of recycled material

A revolutionary new waste processing plant is set to move recycling in Taiwan forward with an innovative twist, reports BBC News: the factory itself is made of recycled material.

The recycling centre is the brainchild of Arthur Huang of Miniwiz, a construction company with a commitment to sustainability. The plant, currently under construction, will process waste electrical and electronics equipment (WEEE). Mr Huang said:

“Not only will this factory do the usual e-waste recycling, extracting gold and copper from your discarded computers and smartphones, but it will be built completely out of recycled materials.”

This is a leap forward for Taiwan, which, according to the BBC article, “produces more electronics per head than any other country”. The many electronics firms based in Taiwan generate a lot of waste through discarding components during production, and consumers regularly get rid of their old gadgets, replacing them with the latest models.

Electronic waste is toxic to the environment. In Taiwan, WEEE had been going to landfill until 2010, when the Government started to promote sustainability by adopting a zero landfill policy. The result, however, was that incineration became the disposal method of choice rather than recycling, and burning waste is also bad for the environment.

But recycling levels have improved in Taiwan – by 50 percentage points in the last decade, according to Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Agency – and the new factory, built in partnership with SDTI, a major recycling firm, represents the latest innovative approach by Miniwiz.

Three years ago, Mr Huang’s company built EcoArc in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital city. The structure was made of recycled plastic recovered from 1.5 million bottles, formed into bricks, and is claimed to be resistant to fire and adverse weather. Miniwiz has also built many bus stops from recycled plastic bottles.

Recycling Lives applauds Miniwiz’s efforts in taking such bold steps. EcoArc is an architecturally impressive structure; hardly surprising, considering that Mr Huang is an architect. His vision will doubtless make the new factory pleasing to the eye as well as ecologically sound.

The work carried out by Miniwiz is clearly innovative, and Recycling Lives is pleased to see such forward-thinking design being implemented. Environmental sustainability can only be driven forward by innovative practice, and this is why we have invested time and effort in developing processes to make construction materials from waste, such as beams from plastics, and glass tiles from cathode ray tubes.

Besides the environmental and financial considerations, it is good for charity; homeless people supported by our social welfare charity work in our social business, so our commitment to finding innovative solutions helps them on their path to independence.