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As our plastic use continues to grow, the world’s oceans and waterways are becoming increasingly polluted, with devastating environmental consequences.

As our plastic use continues to grow, the world’s oceans and waterways are becoming increasingly polluted, with devastating environmental consequences.

It’s estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans if we don’t change our use and disposal of it. Reducing our plastic consumption is as vital as recycling. And since plastic recycling usually produces a lower grade product, innovative ways to create upcycled, functional products is vital in minimizing pollution.

And one ingenious Ecuadorian company is doing exactly that. Focused on Tetrapak milk and juice packages, Ecuaplastic has been a leader in recycling in Ecuador since 2008, transforming Tetrapak waste into low carbon impact products from furniture and handbags to roof covers, floorboards, doors and bricks.

In fact, Ecuaplastic built its 90-square-meter office from upcycled plastic bricks. Manufactured from a recycled plastic and aluminum mixture known as Ecopak, the office was built in just a month and used the equivalent of 310,000 one-liter milk and juice boxes.

Worlds-First-Home-Built-Solely-from-Recycled-Juice-and-Milk-Cartons

With Ecuaplastic focused on upcycling the plastic and aluminum components of milk and juice cartons, the company has partnered with Quito-based Incasa. The latter separates the cardboard from the polyaluminum and recycles it into stationary products.

Ecuaplastic’s dedication to its product reached new heights with the world’s very first home built solely from recycled milk and juice packages. The home diverted 1.2 million milk boxes from landfill and presented a revolutionary new way of building. The home is earthquake proof, resistant to inclement weather and harsh climates, offers excellent sound and heat insulation, cuts down on building time and costs, and is environmentally-friendly.

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Not only does the Pichincha-based company divert about 30 tons of trash from landfills every month, it also produces cost-efficient housing options that offer comfortable living with a significantly lower ecological impact than traditional brick and mortar homes. An Ecopak door that imitates marble uses up about 69 kg of plastic and aluminum, and Ecopak floor boards come in at a cost of only $10 per square meter.

Ecuaplastic team receives the Ecuadorian Environmental “Green Dot” Award from the Ministry of Environment December 2016 credits Ecuaplastic.com

The enthusiastic company recycles more Tetrapak boxes than Ecuador currently sources from selective trash collection. As a result, Ecuaplastic imports about 20% of its materials from neighboring countries, although the team tries to source as close to home as possible in a continuous effort to minimize their carbon footprint.

Ecuaplastic also provides more than 30 full-time jobs in the area and is looking to expand, as Swiss packaging giant Tetrapak aims to recycle 40% of waste generated by its products in Ecuador by 2020.