Norway – Othalo is a start-up seeking to build affordable homes, hospitals and schools across Sub-Saharan Africa using recycled plastic waste.
Created to address the region’s lack of housing – according to the company, 360m homes will be required in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2050 – and the global plastic waste crisis, Othalo aims to position plastic as a positive, pliable and resilient material that can be used to create new communities, shelters and storage solutions.
Using millions of tons of plastic trash, its vibrant, modular buildings are designed by architect Julien de Smedt and are part of a collaboration with UN-Habitat to build safe and sustainable cities for all. Each 60-square-metre house recycles eight tonnes of plastic waste, with the company forecasting that with today's rate of plastic waste, more than one billion houses could be built.
In the past decade, plastic has become a pariah among materials, but an increasing number of creatives and developers are working to reposition plastic for its positive, enduring traits.