Carrie Walsh

U.S. Startup Reusing 24,000 Tons of Waste Plastic to Make Eco-Friendly Concrete

Plazrok USA can process volume equal to 864 million plastic bottles per year at a single plant to develop durable, sustainable concrete products

May XX, 2021 (Sabetha, KS)—WengerManufacturing, Inc., is announcing a strategic partnership with Enviroplaz InternationalLTD of New Zealand to develop and market a novel concrete additive derived fromwaste plastic that has the potential to drastically curb plastic pollution inthe United States.

Theadditive, Plazrok, is a unique lightweight composite material manufactured fromwaste plastic and mixed with cement to create a durable and more environmentallyfavorable alternative to concrete aggregate. Concrete made with Plazrok can beused in specialty concrete products for commercial and residential purposes,including sidewalks and precast concrete structures.

The Plazrokproduction process is powered by Wenger’s industry-leading thermo-mechanicalextrusion technology to convert waste plastic into a concrete additive andpartial replacement for stone aggregate. The patented technology was developedby Enviroplaz in New Zealand, with equipment supplied by Wenger in the UnitedStates.

Theplastic material used to make Plazrok comes from commercial and residentialwaste streams, preventing unrecyclable plastic from reaching landfills andwaterways.

“Ridding landfillsof plastic is one of Plazrok’s obvious and most tangible benefits, but there'sa strong economic component to this endeavor as well,” said Lafe Bailey, Co-CEOof Wenger Manufacturing. “We’re developing a high-value product that improvesend-users’ sustainability profile in the concrete and construction sectors, andit opens up a new revenue opportunity for waste management entities.”

According to theAmerican Chemistry Council, Americans discard 35.4 million tons of plastic eachyear, yet only 2.9 million tons gets recycled. Another small percentage isburned for energy, but that leaves 26 million tons of waste plastic dumped in alandfill every year, accounting for nearly 20 percent of U.S. landfill space. Plazrokplants are designed to process waste plastic volumes in line with typical-sizedurban municipal recovery facilities, with baseline production of 24,000 tons ofplastic per plant, per year, and the ability to scale up as more material isavailable to feed the plant.

“Environmentalstewardship is an important component of every business in the 21stcentury, and we’re bringing value to both ends of the supply chain,” said PeterBarrow, CTO and Founding Director, Enviroplaz and Inventor of Plazrok. “With asingle product, Plazrok could wipe out plastic waste while concurrentlycreating substantial commercial opportunities for the concrete industry,” Barrowsaid.

Plazrokgives concrete companies the means to add an environmentally friendly concretemix to their portfolio. By sourcing waste plastic from materials recovery facilities(MRFs) and waste management companies, the venture creates a new revenue streamfor those entities—all while diverting waste plastic from landfills.

Wenger holds themaster license option for the U.S. market, driving all US-based activities andhas global exclusivity to provide extrusion equipment for Plazrok.

“Enviroplazis thrilled to partner with Wenger to bring Plazrok to the U.S. market,” Barrowsaid. “As a Plazrok USA licensee, Wenger provides the foundation of 85 years ofmanufacturing process expertise, established operations, industry-leadingextrusion equipment, and broad access to the resources needed to succeed.”

PlazrokUSA is assembling the players that can make its first production plant areality.

“We areactively seeking partners from the plastics, recycling, concrete andconstruction industries to complete our business model and collaborate onbringing Plazrok to U.S. markets,” Bailey said. “We are pursuing leading edgeinnovators and early adopters ready to embrace an alternative material that ismore cost-effective and environmentally sustainable. An investment in PlazrokUSA is an opportunity for entities looking to help advance their stewardshipand sustainability practices.”

Plazrok USA is turning waste plastic into commercially viable concrete products that bring substantial revenue opportunities to the concrete and waste management sectors. Plazrok is a lightweight concrete additive derived from waste plastic that expands the value and improves the environmental profile of traditional concrete aggregate. Plazrok USA Initiated operations in 2019 as an alliance between Enviroplaz of Aucklund, New Zealand, and Wenger Manufacturing of Sabetha, Kan.