Building schools from recycled plastic in Côte d’Ivoire

Maßvoll Stiftung


In Côte d’Ivoire, approximately 2 million children are out of school due to lack of classrooms and overcrowding. At the same time, the country is suffocating in plastic waste: out of 288 tons of plastic waste produced daily in Abidjan, only 5% is recycled. 


A Colombian social enterprise, Conceptos Plasticos, partnering with UNICEF, developed an innovative solution to these two problems: Plastic waste could be recycled in large quantities and transformed into sturdy, interlocking bricks which are used to build schools, community centers and health care facilities.


The project presents numerous benefits to the local area. It will offer employment within the recycling plant, for the builders, and to women, who can collect and sell the plastic waste. Less plastic waste on the streets will also lower the risk of malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia, often caused by unsanitary waste build-up and improper recycling techniques. 


From preschool age to the end of primary school, children will be welcomed in clean, safe and spacious conditions that encourage school attendance and allow for more efficient teaching.


The Fondation Maßvoll, dedicated to improving children’s living conditions around the world, is proud to support this project and the construction of 2 new schools made of recycled plastic bricks. When the classrooms are completed, they will initially welcome 700 students, though the durability of the bricks ensures that thousands more children will also be able to receive a quality education.





Photo credit: UNICEF / Frank Dejongh


Read more about this innovative project in an article from the New York Times, 27 July 2019.


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