The Plastic Bricks project in Cote d'Ivoire fills critical needs in waste management and education, all while empowering women and fostering a new economy. Conceptos Plasticos and UNICEF have built the first-of-its-kind plastic brick factory in Africa, which will recycle 9,600 tons of plastic waste each year and support the creation of hundreds of thousands of plastic bricks, which UNICEF will use to develop over 500 schools Cote d'Ivoire.
Cote d'Ivoire's capital city of Abidjan produces 288 tons of plastic waste each day, 90 percent of which is found polluting low income communities. 46% of households in Cote d'Ivoire - mostly single-mother families - live in poverty. Only 5% of plastic waste is recycled in Cote d'Ivoire, mostly informally by women and for very low prices. Plastic and other garbage contributes to poor health conditions, especially for young children, many of which are not in school due to classroom overcrowding.
UNICEF and Conceptos Plasticos have built the first-of-its-kind plastic brick factory in Africa. The factory, located in Cote d'Ivoire, began production in mid-November 2019. Once fully operational, the factory will recycle 9,600 tons of plastic waste each year. The factory will help spur a new, women-led recycling economy as well as jobs at multiple levels of the project from plastic supply to construction to teaching through the manufacturing of plastic bricks for over 500 new schools.
This project will have immediate and transformative potential on the lives of students and women in Cote d'Ivoire. UNICEF's long-term vision is for this project to be the foundation for a global movement that reduces plastic waste while building strong infrastructure that meets the needs of marginalized, low-income populations through targeted health, education or community engagement programs.