Extruded paper waste bricks.

Extruded paper waste bricks.

Innovation is in all ways surprising. What is today is totally new tomorrow and it is no different for  the history of bricks and its sudden evolution towards environmental concern.
Historically, bricks have been manufactured by hand and has been like this for a long time now, but the recipe has changed a bit with the addition of industry paper waste in the mix with clay. The process has also changed, because now there’s extrusion involved. So why paper?
The addition of paper waste to the mix reinforces clay’s thermal conductivity and consequently becomes a much better thermal insulating material. Additionally, paper helps in combustible reduction and the burning time process is decreased because it adds heat to the mixture, according to a report submitted by the scientists at Escuela Politécnica Superior de Linares, known as University of Jaén. Although it’s mechanical resistance is still under evaluation, they have nailed a sustainable product with a promising future, proven to raise it’s thermal resistance up to a 40%.


On it’s counterpart, there has been another study towards brick making, but this time not exactly 90-100% environmentally friendly. Plastic brick. This brick is made out of plastic bottles including caps and stamps added to a mixture of concrete. Its manufacturing process eliminates the burning stage of brick inside those huge ovens to open air, but using the other big oven for concrete making. It’s kind of in a loop, isn’t it?
Adversely, it is a good idea of including plastic in the mix, although the material’s mechanical resistance is under investigation too, compromising its own integrity. Practically wise, it promises to perform better acoustically and thermally.

Good exploration of materials is always a good idea.

Post your opinions on this new debate towards bricks below!

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Mabelle Plasencia

Founder and Editor at INmatteria©
• Architect | LEED AP BD+C, with an intense passion for materiality, innovation, technology and science. • Arquitecta | LEED AP BD+C apasionada por la materialidad, innovación, tecnología y ciencia.