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Building structures out of used plastic 

Arena Recycling Industry creates construction blocks out of plastic waste. Not only are the blocks reusing material, they also have benefits over traditional construction blocks.


Plastic waste is the symbol of the environmental crisis. Arena Recycling Industry sees discarded plastic not as a waste, but as a valuable raw material. They use old plastic to create construction blocks which they call eco-bricks. 


Dar es Salaam is the largest city of Tanzania. Its six million inhabitants throw out about 740 tonnes of plastic every day. Plastic can block drains, contributing to floods during the rainy season. It can end up in waterways to harm marine life and pollute sources of drinking water. 

Dar es Salaam also has a growing economy and population, so construction is a booming industry. Many construction companies rely on concrete, one of the most polluting construction materials in the world.  


Arena Recycling Industry had an idea to solve both problems with one solution. They could take discarded plastic and turn it into construction blocks, such as bricks, pavement tiles and kerbs. These eco-bricks are composed of 80 per cent plastic and 20 per cent sand. 

The company has developed a full value chain of collecting the plastic, sorting it and creating the product. Arena Recycling Industry buys material from waste collectors and gathers plastic from businesses. They have five plants operating in different parts of the city and produce about 100 blocks per day. In addition, they sell beach clean-up services to waterfront hotels to remove plastic waste from beaches, create revenue and acquire raw material. 

Business potential 

The blocks are affordable compared to traditional concrete blocks but also have added benefits. As the main component is plastic, the bricks are nearly waterproof, making them perfect for water and sanitation projects. Thanks to the sand added in their construction the eco-bricks look similar to traditional concrete blocks and are also fire resistant. The bricks are durable with an expected 50-year life expectancy. 

Some of the major customers of Arena Recycling Industry are individuals, NGOs and the public sector who are eager to use more sustainable solutions in their construction projects. 

Social and environmental impact 

Arena Recycling Industry recycles about 30-40 tonnes of plastic every month. This removes pollution from the environment and reduces the use of virgin raw materials in construction. Altogether 200 tonnes of plastic waste have been turned into eco-bricks so far. 

The company creates sustainable jobs directly and indirectly. Women play key roles in both staff and management, as the CEO and 60 per cent of personnel are women. 


There is currently more demand for Arena Recycling Industry’s products than they can produce. Expansion is a challenge as they need funding to finance additional equipment. 

Want to learn more about circular economy solutions in Africa? This year’s World Circular Economy Forum will take place in Rwanda on 6–8 December. Check out the programme and register for online participation.

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