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ByFusion: Creating the Building Blocks for Tackling Ocean Waste

July 19, 2016

ByFusion: Creating the Building Blocks for Tackling Ocean Waste

by Tom Idle
July 19, 2016

“It’s all about timing,” says Gregor Gomory, CEO of ByFusion, a startup he believes is about to take advantage of a “perfect storm” brewing as the world wakes up to the enormous problem of plastic waste filling up our oceans.

By now, we’ve all heard the statistics: By 2050, there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The 4-12 million tonnes of plastic that is spewed into our waters ever year is a problem that can no longer be ignored.

In the throes of developing a process for creating construction blocks out of straw bales – and filled with TV news images of his beautiful country’s ocean-waste mountain – New Zealand-based inventor and engineer Peter Lewis had a light-bulb moment: What if all of this plastic waste could somehow be put to good use? He played around with some ideas and soon realised that plastic boasted similar thermal properties to straw bales and, if presented in the right way, could be used in construction, too. A prototype technology was created, but for a “variety of reasons” the idea stalled due to fundraising issues.

Fast-forward several years and Gomory and his team have well and truly revived the concept and, buoyed by a landscape of renewed interest in environmentalism – the “perfect storm” he describes – are finally realising Lewis’ original vision.

“We purchased the IP and developed a platform to bring the concept to the US and to do things at a much larger scale; our timing was much better,” Gomory says, pointing to a waste management sector still reeling from plummeting oil prices and finding it more expensive to sell recycled plastic than it is for manufacturers to make it.

So now, ByFusion takes plastic waste in any shape or form, feeds it into its machine (kind of like a giant washing machine) and creates blocks, known as RePlast. These are the same size and shape as the conventional concrete blocks most commonly used in US construction projects

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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