Artist’s impression of an Othalo community, imagined by architect Julien De Smedt. Othalo By Victoria Masterson Using one of the world’s problems to solve another is the philosophy behind a Norwegian start-up’s mission to develop affordable housing from 100% recycled plastic . Since 1950, more than nine billion tonnes of plastic have been produced globally, of which only 9% is recycled, according to building tech company Othalo , while almost a billion people live in slums. It has partnered with UN-Habitat – the United Nations program for human settlements and sustainable urban development – to create components to build three demonstration homes to help tackle Africa’s housing shortage. "In sub-Saharan Africa alone, the immediate need for low-cost housing is 160 million units," the company says. This is expected to increase to 360 million by 2050 as a result of rapid urbanization. But with today’s plastic waste, Othalo believes more than one billion houses can be built. In 2021, the first factory producing elements such as partitions for walls, ceilings and floors from recycled plastic will be built in Kenya. Sustainable Homes UN-Habitat says an estimated 60% of people living in urban areas of Africa are in informal settlements . […]

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