A 27-year-old environmentalist finds a way to recycle used PPE kits and masks into housing bricks. | COVID-19

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Meet Binish Desai, the “Recycle Man of India” who reuses the biomedical waste that accumulates during the period of the pandemic into economically viable solutions.

Binish Desai from Gujarat found a way to recycle brick PPE kits for homes

The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened the world for six months now and cases continue to rise. India has passed the three million mark. Another problem that arises simultaneously is the amount of biomedical waste generated by single-use surgical masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) kits. The waste generated exceeds India’s waste management capacity and ends up in our oceans and landfills.

Binish Desai, a 27-year-old entrepreneur and environmentalist from Surat, has found a solution to this serious problem. Its start-up ‘Eco-Eclectic Tech Group’ converts waste produced from PPE and face masks into bricks. Known as the ‘Recycle the man of India ‘, Binish has developed a unique eco-friendly brick making solution, preventing these kits and masks from going into landfills and oceans. Using its previous patented, environmentally friendly brick-making technology, the Waste Warrior enhanced their innovation to include medical waste in brick-making.

Bricks made from recycled PPE kits
Bricks made from recycled PPE kits

Mass production of such bricks in September is expected to convert 30 to 40 metric tons of waste every month. Binish’s team set up micro-industries in different regions to generate local jobs and decentralized manufacturing. At a time when the country is facing an unprecedented migration crisis, this economic model is bringing factories to the areas where workers live. They also want to expand this business into the interior of the country by collaborating with various institutions.

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We chatted with Binish to learn more about his business and plans. This is how it went:

How to ensure safety when collecting and transporting medical waste?

We aim to place ecological bins in different hospitals, police stations and public areas to collect the waste generated. Once full, they will be isolated for 72 hours before starting the conversion process.

Are the bricks produced as efficient as their conventional counterparts?

Ah absolutely. In fact, bricks made from scrap are three times stronger than regular bricks. Additionally; they are flame retardants and water repellants that repel pests.

Eco-Eclectic Tech Group 'converts waste produced from PPE and face masks into bricks.
Bricks made after recycling PPE kits and face masks are durable, easy to make, and much more affordable than their counterparts

We know these bricks are environmentally friendly, but are they also cost effective?

The price of our brick is Rs. 2.8 per brick compared to the classics which cost almost Rs 4 per brick. Its affordable price makes it even more desired by people.

Is the technology you use reproducible?

We use the same process to make these bricks as those made from waste from the textile and paper industry. Although the process is patented, the technology is easy to replicate and install anywhere you want. The investment depends on the number of machines you want to install. We would love to help set up micro industries to speed up the process.

Taken from the factory where workers recycle brick PPE kits
The factory where workers recycle brick PPE kits

Have you been confronted with the reluctance of workers at the start regarding their safety when handling waste?

Yes, the fear of COVID-19 is there. But with the right worker orientation and strict safety protocols, we overcame the obstacle. Each worker receives a PPE kit during his work which becomes our raw material after use. Once we assured them that their safety was our priority, they were more than happy to work.

How is the market reacting to Brick 2.0?

More than we could have hoped for. And not just inside the country. We receive calls from international markets, including Australia, United States, Philippines and Brazil, to inquire about our products.

You might also like to read: A student in Kerala designs a mask with a built-in microphone and speakers so frontline workers can talk easily.

About Binish:

Meet Binish Desai, the 'Recycle Man of India' who figured out how to recycle biomedical waste like PPE kits and brick masks for housing.
Dr Binish Desai, Founder and Chairman of EE Tech Group holds a PhD in Environmental Science and Technology. From the age of 10, he ventured down the path of formulating ecological means of managing the waste produced. Previously, he had developed P-block bricks from stationery waste. Witness to the current global pandemic generating tons of biomedical waste daily, Binish has reorganized its original innovation to launch the Brick 2.0 project. By virtue of this, they produce bricks from PPE kits and masks as well as waste paper and organic binders.

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