We’re lucky that Blackle Mag is able to bring articles to the world by the power of the internet.
Were it not for the internet, Blackle Mag would have to be published on paper – not exactly the most eco-friendly way of spreading the green message. Paper can, of course, be recycled, but a Spanish company has hit upon a way of making new materials from used paper.
Waste paper was harvested from various locations across the province of Granada and taken to scientific research facilities in the city.
The result: bricks.
Already light-bulbs (hopefully LED) are popping in heads as the potential of making building material from waste paper becomes obvious. Indeed the best ideas often are those that seem so obvious we wonder why they’d never been thought of before.
The wasted paper is mixed with water, preferably from a grey-water system, in other words it uses previously used water in the process. This forms a papier-mâché that isn’t particularly easy on the eye but when mixed with quaternary clay and left to dry, the result is a pretty efficient building block.
The original organic nature of paper makes it a great tool in the reversal of heat transfer – already homes are using wasted paper as a means of insulation. Bricks made from paper are a clear evolution in creating homes built around the environment rather than adapted to it, the latter being more difficult and often expensive. Houses built with these new bricks are, say scientists, likely to have excellent heat conservation – good news for the environment, and your heating bills.
Do they work?
There does always seem to be a downside when it comes to new technology, especially in emerging markets such as green infrastructure. The answer is yes, to a point. These paper bricks (they’re pretty hard by the end of the process) cannot take as much weight as our traditional clay block. Yet many developing countries are building temporary homes that do not require traditional bricks, and so there is most definitely a market, particularly in Africa.
Rome was not built in a day, in clay or paper – but if continuing tests are successful, we could see yet more building materials made from recycled waste.
This is the ultimate goal in sustainability. Complete control over the circle of material is the green Utopia. It isn’t so much that ‘bricks from paper’ is a tremendous leap forward – the achievement is in adopting a mode of thinking that considers ideas as simple as these.
After all, green technology will only ever go as far as our imaginations allows.
Image: Courtesy of designboom
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