Plastic waste has become a major global problem, and one that must be addressed in order to solve the world’s resource and energy challenges. Millions of plastic items are improperly disposed of on a daily basis, creating piles of plastic waste everywhere. This has brought serious damages to local environments around the world in terms of water, air and soil pollution. It blocks drains, pollutes rivers and wreaks havoc on the environment.
I was watching a TV show, where Moroccan former interior minister, announced that Morocco has decided to take action to eliminate plastic bags through its campaign “Zero Plastic Bag”. “Zéro Plastic Bag” came into effect on July 1, 2016, to ban the manufacture, commercialization, and importation of plastic bags. Then I realized that the best solution for disposing of plastic waste is recycling it to produce new materials that are sustainable and recyclable. Which mean a product that can be recycled after being using to create added value and a real Circular Economy.
As social entrepreneur and change maker it was for us the right time to start doing an acting to address this issue and have a real impact on our community and worldwide. After 8 month of brainstorming, ideation and prototyping, we came up our idea.
As a first step we have developed, a new material based on 80% of plastic waste and 20% other additives that can be used such as cement in construction product and more.
Then we launched our first products are PAVECO eco-friendly paving stones and floor tiles made from our formula. They can be used in all the same ways as regular products in gardens, sidewalks, parking and more, but:
- use less energy and water in production,
- are cheaper to produce
- offer better insulation and are more durable than most alternatives.
Everybody wins! Zelij aims to eliminate more than 3000 tons of plastic waste every year, while reducing resources used in manufacture and energy use for customers.
Our engineers have developed an innovative and easy process we collect plastic wastes from NGO’s and suppliers, we put it in special machines with the additives and we have our final product in different shapes and colors.
We joined the Greenpreneurs program in order to scale up and get the tools to develop what we are doing. The first challenge was that in 10 weeks we have to move from a prototype to the real market. Each week we had exercises and courses, it was so challenging that in a very short time we have to do a big steps, starting from searching in internet moving to having real discussions with costumers and going out to market. And YES we did it!
Thanks to the Greenpreneurs program, we discovered several tools and we explored several new ways. We have also done a real big rotation on our branding and marketing strategy.