They say that the best ideas always come from the most unexpected of places.
For these six college students at Udaipur’s Techno India NJR Institute of Technology, it came from the garbage dump.
“Two years ago, we noticed that the garbage bins on the campus were overflowing with trash—mostly empty plastic bottles. We began with casually critiquing the situation, and this evolved into discussions where we started to explore ways of changing that waste into something useful. That is when we came up with the idea to create bricks out of waste,” says Kunjpreet Kaur Arora, a 4th-year student.
What if you could get rid of your waste and get chic collectibles in return? Here’s an organisation, which does just that- making home decor and utility products out of solid waste.
The core team members—Kunjpreet, Nikita Sharma, Sayed Amir Hussain, Krishna Choudhary, Honey Kothari and Daidipya Kothari—claim that their innovation is not only going to solve the problem of waste disposal and rid the world of its ever-increasing landfills but also reduce air pollution, conserve water and prevent soil erosion.
India produces almost 200 billion bricks a year and is the second-largest producer of bricks in the world. But the production of the same has many adverse effects on the environment, as it consumes vast proportions of high-quality soil and also emits pollutants in the air.
“In addition to all that, did you know that the conventional red clay bricks can be the cause of soil erosion? Our invention can help solve it,” says Nikita.
The invention in question is a “Wrick,” a low-cost, light-weight and earthquake-proof green-alternative to conventional bricks.
“The scale of impact of using wricks over bricks is massive. For instance, if we happen to sell 10 lakh wricks, it will amount to recycling 2,50,000 kg of waste materials. Isn’t that incredible?” adds Nikita.
The women also pointed out that their innovation also tackles a big problem specific to Udaipur— the disposal of marble dust and slurry, which has been the cause of destruction for many lakes and water bodies in the area.
Hence, marble waste is an essential component in these wricks.
So, how did they go about this?
Along with the guidance of professors, the team created a prototype called “Wricks,” which is an eco-friendly version of construction bricks. It is composed of 30-40% of plastic waste, 30-40% demolition waste, 10-20% marble and thermal waste, and 10-20% fly ash.
Talking about competing with the current market of conventional bricks, Kunjpreet says that their product could be just the next best thing builders and civil engineers have been looking for.
“The fact that plastic waste and other demolition material makes up a major bulk of wricks make them much more light than regular bricks. This means that they can be perfect for the construction of small and as well as high-rise buildings. Also, in high-rise buildings, it’s important for the base to be strong, while the remaining structure is required to be sturdy yet light. If our wricks are used to make up the walls of the structure, it can truly bring down the overall weight of the building, making it suitable for earthquake-prone zones too!”
Owing to the enormous potential of the product, the group has won various accolades, including the innovation prize worth Rs 75,000 in the Smart India Hackathon 2018, held at NIT, Trichy, Tamil Nadu.
In addition to this, they have also received a funding of around 35 lakhs, from a private organisations as well as the Rajasthan government and IIT Madras. They also add that almost 100 bricks can be manufactured in an hour.
However, with the product still under more research and development, the team is trying hard to make it more economical.
“Currently we acquire the plastic from the private waste collectors which costs Rs 35-40 per kg, bringing up the manufacturing cost to Rs 7 per wrick. Thankfully, the Udaipur municipality has promised to help us and provide waste plastic at a cheaper rate of Rs 10 per kg, which will bring it down to around Rs 4 per wrick. This, in comparison to a regular brick which is priced at Rs 6-8 per brick, is a great place to start!”
This brilliant product that could potentially revolutionise the construction sector in India is likely to be launched in the market in a year. We applaud their initiative and hope for only the best things for Wricks!
Know more about the ATL Tinkering Innovation Marathon here.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)