Edgar Mora is a man on a mission. The founder of Ecuaplastic, he has dedicated his life to mending our environmental crisis. But what is Ecuaplastic? Put most simply, it is a company that turns disposed-of plastic into construction materials. Edgar dreams of one day living in a world full of buildings that have “zero carbon footprint.” With Ecuaplastic, he and his team are creating the blueprint for such a future.
Why Is Ecuaplastic Important?
According to the Science Exchange article “How Can We Reduce Plastic Pollution,” “The production and disposal of plastic generates greenhouse gasses and hazardous waste… Most plastic is not recyclable and the vast majority does not biodegrade. Furthermore, plastic products often break down into very small fragments called microplastics that can pollute ecosystems and harm organisms.”
The article goes on to state that an estimated 7,000 million tons of plastic have been produced globally as of 2015. Of that, 79% is in landfills, still in use, or in our environment.
The easy solution is to simply lessen our dependence on plastics. However, this would be impossible without collapsing nearly every major industry, including the medical tech industry.
Edgar understands that, despite the pollution that they cause, plastics are vital to our everyday lives. This is why he started Ecuaplastic in 2009: “to give a second chance to plastic waste.”
What Exactly Does Ecuaplastic Do?
Ecuaplastic is not a recycling plant. Instead, it “upcycles” disposed-of plastics, essentially turning trash into treasure. But what is upcycling? According to Brightly, “By definition, to ‘upcycle’ means to recycle or reuse something in a way that increases the original object’s value. In other words, upcycling is taking something old and creating something new.”
Upcycling has seen a recent surge in popularity, with the Instagram tag #upcycle currently hosting millions of posts, most relating to arts and crafts. Edgar Mora, however, is taking upcycling to a whole new level. He and his team are creating building materials from upcycled plastics, currently producing 100 tons of new product per month.
The Ingenuity Behind Ecuaplastic
Turning plastic waste into fully functional buildings is a cool idea in theory. However, many would argue that it’s impractical. Edgar and his team, on the other hand, prove the naysayers wrong. Using their collective imaginations, they have found ways to turn plastics into building materials, even going as far as to construct sturdy, comfortable homes. (Currently, an Ecuaplastic home costs $300 to $350 per square meter.)
You’re probably thinking, “All this is well and good. But are construction materials made from plastic waste even of high quality?” Well, the Central University of Ecuador has an answer; the institution did a study that compared conventional methods of construction with those of Ecuaplastic. According to Edgar, the study proved that Ecuaplastic’s methods had the “competitive upper hand.”
The mere existence of Ecuaplastic is a testament to human ingenuity. If Edgar and his team’s methods were adopted on a global scale, humanity would have a far better chance of halting the current environmental crisis.
“We want to eventually create buildings that have zero carbon footprint,” Edgar tells us. Considering that Ecuaplastic has already done what many thought to be impossible, we don’t think that achieving this goal is out of the question.
What Makes Edgar Mora an Everyday Hero?
It isn’t Edgar’s genius that makes him a hero. It’s how he uses his intelligence and creativity to do good. With decades of experience in the textiles industry, he could have easily worked for a major company, making decent money and living a satisfying, yet not-so-impactful life. Instead, like most of us, he saw that his planet was in crisis. But unlike most, he did something about it.
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Edgar is only one man, and one person alone could never save the world. He is fortunate to have assembled a team of like-minded individuals who help his vision come to life. As he tells us, “I myself am not a hero. I am a hero alongside others… We are a group of people that contribute in different ways…”
Likewise, his team members have nothing but good things to say about him. As Ecuaplastic architect Oscar Jara says, “For me, Edgar Mora is a hero because of the connection he has with society, with innovation, with academics, as well as his commitment to his family.”
Ecuaplastic has turned upcycling from a form of arts and crafts to a viable construction method, devising never-seen-before ways to give a second life to plastic waste. So why are its procedures not more widely adopted? Well, Edgar sums it up in two words: “economic interests.” Corporations benefit from the production of new plastics, and this is not something that will change overnight.
Despite this, Edgar remains optimistic. He will continue to expand Ecuaplastic, setting a positive example for the entire world, proving that, yes, sustainability in an industrialized society is possible.