Wilson Dakwa, Business Reporter
A PROPERTY developing company, Aloe Enterprises is set to invest more than $1 million towards the setting up of a polystyrene bricks factory in Mutare in a bid to reduce the cost of building.
In a telephone interview, Aloe Enterprises managing director Dr Nancy Saungweme said the million dollar factory will manufacture bricks that are made by mixing polystyrene and cement.
“The polystyrene is cut into small fine particles and then we mix it with other materials like cement so as to make it robust. Being a land developer and having been doing this for the past 25 years, I am aware that the cost of building using traditional bricks is currently expensive. Polystyrene bricks will offer an alternative as they will reduce cost of building and also promote sustainability. As for now, we do not have an exact figure of how much we will invest into the factory but it should be over $1 million,” said Dr Saungweme.
She said the cost of building depended on the size of the house, adding that her company has completed a model housing unit in Mutare just under a month.
“We built a model polystyrene house in Mutare which was used for certification. We passed the tests and we have since been certified by the Standard Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ),” she added.
Polystyrene material consists of 96 percent air, making it incredibly lightweight. This has a significant impact on carbon emissions during transportation and is a versatile plastic used to make a wide variety of consumer products.
When combined with various colourants, additives or other plastics, polystyrene is used to make appliances, electronics, automobile parts, toys, gardening pots and equipment and more. As a hard, solid plastic, it is often used in products that require clarity, such as food packaging (kaylites).
Dr Saungweme said the polystyrene bricks will be very reliable and will not expose people to health hazards as they are certified and used worldwide.
“We will make use of dumped kaylite containers to produce our bricks and therefore, we will be recycling which in turn translates to contributing towards environment conservation and cleanness. I believe there is a ready market for the bricks as many African and other continents have adopted the use of polystyrene bricks,” she said.
Polystyrene bricks have advantages of flexibility, thus making them less vulnerable to cracking walls; they use recyclable material making them economical while properties that prevent deterioration increase their useful life span.
She said houses built using polystyrene bricks will contribute towards tourism as people will be keen to see a house built using material used to create food packaging.