Cameroon engineer develops new building method to save 200,000 trees

An engineer in Cameroon has developed a way of using recycled plastic as a key material in the country’s construction sites.

Claude Tayo discovered that timber, the prime material for formwork, the moulds used for pouring concrete, could be replaced by recycled plastic.

Wooden moulds, which can be very large as they represent the shape of large parts of a building’s structure, form up to 10% of the total cost of construction and are indispensable to building sites, Tayo found.

However, much of the wooden formwork was too heavy to transport to the sites or was not sturdy enough.

Tayo’s company Eco-Co proposes to replace wooden formwork with those made of recycled plastic, which is lighter and can be reused up to 50 times.

According to Djoumann.com, a website, which describes itself as “an African platform for collaborative innovation”, Eco-Co’s formwork is cheaper than its wooden equivalent.

Eco-Co is trying to persuade African construction sites to use the plastic formwork, which it believes could save 200,000 trees or 60,000 hectares of forest annually, as well as reducing plastic waste.

Djoumann.com said the business had been receiving help from Burkina Faso-based le Fabrique, a business incubator which aims to assist socially responsible businesses.

Plastic bags have been banned in Ivory Coast and Cameroon since 2014, in Senegal since 2015 and in Mali since 2013.

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