BOGATÀ, Colombia — Colombia, like many other countries, suffers from a lack of affordable housing options as well as an excess of plastic waste. Colombian architect Oscar Mendez may have a solution to both problems: low-cost plastic houses in Colombia.
Mendez is the founder of the Bogota-based Conceptos Plasticos, which produces low-cost housing options made out of recycled plastics in Colombia. A recent viral Facebook video with over 19 million views highlights the positive impact of Mendez and his team.
Mendez sums up the mission of the company by telling The Venture “Our business contributes to reducing extreme poverty, mitigating the environmental risks in informal settlements, whilst promoting sustainable construction”.
The houses are relatively small (around 430 square feet), so they are easy and quick to assemble. The recycled plastic is formed into lego-like bricks and includes instructions, which allows the houses to be easily deconstructed by their owners. Interestingly, the houses can be constructed without the use of adhesive. It only takes four people five days to build one house.
The plastic houses are an affordable option for residents facing poverty and limited options due to a shortage in Columbia’s housing market. Each house costs the equivalent of $130 per square meter.
These plastic houses in Colombia have not only positively impacted their new residents but also helps the environment. So far, this project has resulted in over 300 tons of plastic being recycled.
The company has already created 50 jobs in Colombia with hopes to expand the team to over 2,000 employees.
In the past, Conceptos Plasticos has won awards and acknowledgements from Colombia’s Housing Ministry, the United Nations, and Colombia-based Locomotion of Innovation.
In addition to their past achievements, Conceptos Plasticos is currently in the running for The Venture Competition hosted by Chivas Regal. If they win, Mendez and his team will receive $1 million to continue funding their housing project.
– Carrie Robinson