Build with ByBlock — Faster, Cleaner and Greener

Build with ByBlock — Faster, Cleaner and Greener

Construction Blocks Made of 100% Plastic Waste

ByBlock helps you build faster, cleaner, and greener than any construction block on the market. Made of recycled and often unrecyclable plastic waste, ByBlock gives builders, architects, weekend warriors, and DIY’ers alike a sustainable, high-performing construction material usable for anything from walls to sheds and furniture to fencing.

The qualities that make plastic such a valuable material for packaging are exactly what make it one of the most powerful building materials around: it’s malleable, insulative, and doesn’t degrade easily. Using our proprietary system which uses only steam and compression, ByFusion’s clean technology maximizes these traits by processing recovered plastic waste of any sort into ready-made building materials, thus offering builders around the world an easy-to-use, eco-friendly, and inexpensive product to use in residential or commercial settings.

ByFusion’s ByBlock offers one of the most intriguing construction products the building industry has seen in years. Below, we show you how easy it is to build with ByBlock, and hopefully inspire some ideas for what YOU will build with ByBlock.

ByBlock Highlights

ByBlock is similar in dimension to standard concrete cinder blocks (CMU) — approximately 16” wide, 8” deep, and 8” tall. Although they are made from 100% plastic waste, their strength is not to be underestimated. Weighing 22 lbs per block, your structure will be sturdy, reliable, and incredibly well insulated.

Anatomy of ByBlock

Each ByBlock has two clearance holes (both extending completely through the product), two pins located on the top, and two dimples located on the bottom. The clearance holes are used to run metal rods through each ByBlock to reinforce structure strength, while the pins and dimples are designed to connect to one another while stacking ByBlock (yes — just like Lego).

Want more details on ByBlock? Review this data sheet.

ByBlock’s user-friendly build, coupled with its eco-friendly footprint, make it a unique building material compared to traditional construction materials. But don’t just take our word for it — sustainable builder and ByFusion advocate, Rob Brower, has positive things to say after spearheading the installation of our latest pilot project at the Island School in Lihue, Kauai.

“The ByBlocks went up fast and easy. When you see how the finished product looks, it’s clear that ByBlock is a great way to give plastic waste a responsible end use. They seem to have great R value and sound proofing qualities.” — Rob Brower


So, ByBlock saves you time, money, and energy — but we’re sure you still have a few questions. Here are some frequently asked questions:

What about the potential of pesky termites and water damage?

ByBlock’s plastic composition renders it both insect- and water-proof. In fact, because plastic does not absorb moisture, ByBlock will actually float!

What if I move and want to take my ByBlock structure with me?

Any project made from ByBlock can be disassembled and repurposed (with the same strength and quality) easier than any other building material. ByBlock will not crack under pressure nor break if dropped, so you don’t have to worry about replacing materials. If you do somehow manage to break a ByBlock (a feat we have not found to be easy), any waste material can always be sent back and remade into a new fully functioning ByBlock.

Does ByBlock contribute to LEED certification?

Yes - ByBlock will contribute to LEED credits. Our low emission process, high rate of plastic waste diversion, and minimal materials required for installation make ByBlock the most eco-friendly building block to choose from.

Now that you know ByBlock’s benefits compared to traditional building materials, put on your hardhat and let’s dive into the building process.

How to Build with ByBlock

Building with ByBlock is fast and easy.

The primary materials required for ByBlock construction include the ByBlock itself, threaded rod, washers and nuts, lumber or steel top plates, base mounting hardware, and covering. That’s it! ByBlock does not require any additives or fillers, glues, or mortars. Instead, the rods are secured within your base and extend through each ByBlock with the pins and dimples locking together.

Your base material could be concrete/cement, lumber, or steel. With concrete, there are a few options for anchoring the metal rods: place rods in cement when it is poured, drill holes in concrete, and either install drop-in anchors or use epoxy. Using drop-in anchors afford us the quickest installation with the most precision.

Remember, when planning your project, you need at least one rod running through each ByBlock.

Once ByBlock stacking has been completed, a top plate is placed onto your final course and secured using standard washers and nuts. At this point, tightening the nuts (post-tension) will draw the ByBlock courses together and lock them tightly into position. This is where a ByBlock wall assembly gets its strength.

Then, once the nuts are tightened and the walls are compressed together and level, the excess rod can be cut back using a grinder or reciprocating saw.

Lastly, because ByBlock is designed to be covered and protected from the elements, the final step is to add a finish of your choice (stucco, sheetrock/drywall, plaster, siding, paneling or even specialized paints). If your outdoor project is designed to feature ByBlock visually, a clear UV coating will need to be applied. UV protective products are readily available in the market today.

Done! Now you have a perfectly-functioning, durable structure made almost entirely out of post-consumer plastic.

During the construction process, we recommend cutting any half ByBlock that you need in advance to keep the project running smoothly. ByBlock can be cut using standard power tools such as a table saw, reciprocating saw, band saw, or even a chainsaw.

ByBlock General Wall Build Diagram using a concrete base, Standard ByBlock (Pins and Dimples), Flat ByBlock (flat top with Dimples), and a timber top plate.

What Can You Build?

ByBlock is designed for a wide variety of residential, commercial, and institutional projects. From landscaping and gardening, to flooring and fencing, to small buildings like sheds or offices, ByBlock truly does it all. Tap into your construction imagination and ByBlock can likely accommodate.

Thus far, ByFusion has completed two official pilot projects: an athletic pavilion on the sports field of Island School in Lihue, Kauai and a lifeguard tower on Bruce’s Beach in Manhattan Beach, California. In both cases, the community was elated with the quality of the structures and their waste diversion function, while the construction team raved about ByBlock’s simple assembly — inspiring ideas for additional projects in both locations.

Below are some images to inspire your next project. We encourage you to stretch your imagination and think of ways to use ByBlock that even ByFusion hasn’t thought of!

What Will You Build?

ByFusion has created an innovative solution to the global plastic waste crisis. ByFusion offers communities the power to not only decrease plastic waste in their own backyard, but turn this plastic waste into buildings and infrastructure. Even at the DIY home project level, ByBlock turns the average building project into something special.

ByFusion is committed to recycling 100 million tons of plastic by 2030. With each ByBlock repurposing 22 lbs of post-consumer plastic, ByFusion and communities around the world can co-create a future with less plastic waste and more environmentally-superior buildings.

ByBlock will be available for pre-order starting October 2020, subscribe here if you’re interested in the pre-order process.

Connect with the ByFusion Community:

Pilot Projects: Island School Athletic Pavilion in Lihue, Kauai

Pilot Projects: Island School Athletic Pavilion in Lihue, Kauai

ByFusion ByBlock made with marine debris and fishing nets from Kauai, Hawaii

ByFusion ByBlock made with marine debris and fishing nets from Kauai, Hawaii

There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t hear about plastic and the damage it is doing to our oceans and communities. Plastic waste can be found in just about every corner of society, whether it’s from our blatant disregard, leaked during transit, or natural disasters that wash our waste out to sea.¹ Studies have found that approximately 9 million tons of plastic enters our oceans each year, significantly impacting sea life and coastal communities.² 

ByFusion is committed to eliminating the burdens of plastic waste by reshaping its future and putting it to work. Our zero-waste system called the Blocker, converts any kind of plastic waste, including marine debris and fishing nets, into a construction-grade, multi-purpose building material called ByBlock. Blockers divert plastic waste from landfills, incinerators, and oceans empowering communities to take control of their own waste and convert it to a new, sustainable purposeful second life that can be used to support local building projects– this is something evolutionary.

Closing the Loop: From Marine Debris to an Athletic Pavilion

The beautiful beaches of Hawaii and surrounding oceans are not immune from the scourge of plastic waste. Below is the story of a school, a nonprofit, and ByFusion coming together to take trash and turn it into treasure for a small island community.

In the Summer of 2019, we travelled to the island community of Lihue, Kauai to build an athletic pavilion on the grounds of Island School, using ByBlock in conjunction with standard building materials including threaded rod, hardware and lumber, and concrete slab.

Building Partnerships

ByFusion CEO, Heidi Kujawa, alongside Kauai Surfrider Senior Scientist, Dr. Carl Berg.

In April 2017, Rob Brower reached out to ByFusion and described the challenges the island of Kauai, Hawaii was facing due to marine debris. Rob is a 45-year veteran surfer and diver who serves on the board of Surfrider Foundation– Kauai Chapter as well a luxury home builder with an emphasis on sustainability. Since then, Rob’s commitment to protecting our oceans accelerated our marine debris research when he introduced us to Surfrider Kauai’s Senior Scientist, Dr. Carl Berg.  

A few years and Blocker generations later, ByFusion reached a big milestone and successfully produced the world’s first construction-grade ByBlock made of plastic marine debris and abandoned fishing nets. While we were busy in the Innovation Lab, Dr. Berg and Rob Brower were scouring Kauai in search of the ideal construction project for these new ByBlocks when they learned Island School in Lihue, Kauai needed a new athletic pavilion.

Dr. Berg enlisted the help of Schmidt Marine Technology to help fund the project and Rob’s construction company, Brower Construction, tapped his network of industry specialists including; Architects Kauai, Island Truss, Kick Ass Concrete, Mahelona Sheet Metal Fabrication, and Pacific Plaster & Stucco and got to work building a valuable new structure for local students to enjoy.

Heidi Kujawa, ByFusion CEO, shared how invaluable these two have been to ByFusion’s success, noting that “Rob and Dr. Berg have become a part of ByFusion’s family. Their support over the years has enabled us to achieve several major milestones. We are forever grateful for their contributions and looking forward to continuing to partner with them on many more projects.”

Designing a Custom ByBlock From Kauai, For Kauai

The ByFusion Blocker is the only machine which can process nearly all forms of plastic marine debris, without the need for intense cleaning and sorting. Each ByBlock, while streamline in function, is unique to the plastic waste recovered from that particular community. 

In this case, to create the athletic pavilion using ByBlocks– volunteers first collected marine  debris on the local beaches of Kauai. This was then mixed with a collection of post-consumer waste, which we call “pre-marine debris”. We coined this term due to the fact that most plastic waste starts out as post-consumer waste before making its way into our oceans. 

Testing was then employed to identify the highest ratio of marine debris to plastic waste that would result in a ByBlock meeting ByFusion quality standards.

Ease of Building with ByBlock

Along with the environmental benefits of the Blocker and ByBlock, they are also incredibly effective and easy to use for construction projects. According to Rob, who served as the general contractor, “The ByBlocks went up fast and easy. When you see how the finished product looks, it’s clear that ByBlock is a great way to give plastic waste a responsible end use. They seem to have great R value and sound proofing qualities.”³ Because the ByBlock is lightweight and user friendly, anyone from a skilled contractor like Rob, to the average handy-person can build with them, achieving high level construction results.

Dr. Berg and Rob’s crew took only a day to stack the blocks that formed the walls of the pavilion.

Once seasoned builders get their hands on ByBlock, they are often eager to talk about the possibilities for future projects. Michael Kujawa, ByFusion VP Product Development, witnessed this first hand during the Hawaii project with Rob Brower and his team, “After we began stacking the wall and cutting ByBlock, Rob and his team’s imaginations started thinking of all the different ways they could use ByBlock. This is a typical reaction and it’s energizing to be a part of those brainstorming sessions during the build and witness the excitement of discovery.” With contractors building with ByBlock and community members collecting plastic waste, this project brought together a unique set of people, working together to better their home island and the environment in a tangible way.

Environmental Impact

Surfrider hosts community beach cleanups and targeted net patrols, collecting an average or approximately 10,000 lbs per month. Without a means to recycle or repurpose this waste, the Honolulu H-Power incinerator is their only option, resulting in the production of toxic greenhouse gas emissions. The Island School project alone has utilized 2.4 tons of plastic waste which was previously burdensome on the island community, making a significant stride in the fight to solve the global plastic waste issue.³

A collection of nets, ropes and lines collected from Kauai’s beaches and stored at the Surfrider Marine Debris Processing Center awaiting recycling.

Dr. Carl Berg as well as other key players in this project have expressed interest in obtaining a Blocker on the island which can facilitate a community run, closed loop cycle for plastic waste and marine debris.³ Local plastic waste, transformed into construction-grade building material, used for local projects– eliminating plastic waste pollution, creating jobs, and improving community infrastructure, all in one. 

Moving forward

Thank you to Schmidt Marine Technology, Mayor Derek Kawakami, Island School, Surfrider Foundation – Kauai Chapter, Brower Construction, the construction companies, and the local Kauai community for supplying time, energy, resources, and support to the Athletic Pavilion project. It showed the potential of ByFusion, the power of partnership and contributed to the improvement of the Island School’s infrastructure while taking a step to combat local plastic waste problems. 

ByFusion’s goal is to recycle 100 million tons of plastic by 2030. With the support of recycling facilities and communities across the globe, we know this can be accomplished. For coastal communities and island nations, we are eager to play a leading role in giving local leaders the ability to reduce ocean pollution and create construction materials.

Finished athletic pavilion structure on the Island School field.

Knowing Your Plastics

Knowing Your Plastics

Plastic is a material we are all familiar with, from the everyday shopping bag to the parts in your car. But what do we really know about plastic after we’ve fulfilled its first use?

The first thing that comes to mind is recycling, of course. We take our bags, cups, bottles, and more– separate the plastic from the other trash, and drop them in the blue bin; which then gets taken away and presumably processed to recreate new plastic consumables from the old ones, in a sort of cycle.

Unfortunately, this process is not actually a cycle at all, but rather a linear relationship leading to a far fewer ratio of plastic recycled than plastic inputted into the system. This may not be news to you, as the flaws in our recycling system have been increasingly exposed– but to what extent?

Is All Plastic Recyclable?

The short answer is no. But let’s dive a bit deeper to understand which plastics are and which are not. Plastics are categorized through a number system 1 through 7 indicating it’s recyclability. The numbers are labeled (usually at the bottom) on consumer products to help us sort our waste correctly.

Infographic Sources ¹ ² ³

Recycling by Numbers

Plastics 1 and 2 are most commonly accepted by recycling facilities, while 3 through 7 are rarely accepted, rendering them landfill waste in most regions. With only 2 out of 7 types of plastic waste getting recycled regularly, even if the process was endless, those are discouraging odds for the environment and low income communities, which bear the brunt of overflowing landfills.

On top of that, the recycling process is not endless– recycling of plastics 1 and 2 is limited by the number of times the product can be repurposed before the material is too weak to hold a new shape.

Check in With Your County

All county curbside recycling facilities have different regulations and protocols. Therefore, it is important to look up and/or contact the facilities picking up your bins to understand exactly how to separate your waste. In regards to recyclable containers for food, drink, cleaning supplies, hygiene products and more, the best recycling practice is to wash out the remaining product with water before tossing it into the recycling bin. Oftentimes, any contamination in a grouping of plastic waste can spoil the entire batch, leaving them bound for the landfill.

Is Plastic Waste Processed Locally?

Unfortunately, for many years plastic waste was shipped overseas to China for industrial processing. This method was already full of problems, such as increased emissions due to transportation as well as a lack of direct regulation for workers and the environment.

However, in 2018, China enacted the “National Sword” policy, which banned the import of plastic and other recyclables to their country for processing. This caused extreme strain on the United States’ ability to effectively recycle the vast amount of plastic waste being produced. Without adequate recycling infrastructure within the U.S., a large portion of our recyclables are now being sent to landfills, reducing the beneficial impacts of consumer efforts to understand and sort their plastics diligently.

Plastic Isn’t the Problem, Endless Plastic Waste Is

ByFusion has come up with a simple innovation to our plastic waste problem. Our systems clean and convert low-value plastic waste into a construction-grade building material called ByBlock. The industrial machine used to manufacture the ByBlock, called the Blocker, can be installed into materials recycling facilities and all other recycling locations to increase revenue and/or decrease costs, achieve diversion targets, and help facilities meet community and environmental goals. Plus, the equipment is built for scale, allowing it to be implemented in almost any facility, big or small.

ByFusion has already taken on and completed successful community projects using ByBlocks such as an athletic pavilion at Island School in Kauai, Hawaii in partnership with Surfrider Foundation– Kauai Chapter, as well as a lifeguard tower on Bruce’s Beach in Manhattan Beach, California. Additionally, ByBlocks will soon be offered at general hardware stores for all your home improvement projects alongside bulk ordering for larger scale community infrastructure improvements.

We have a goal: Recycle 100 million tons of plastic by 2030. With support from all sides, we believe this can be possible. We can reshape the future of plastics, improve community infrastructure across the globe, facilitate job creation, and eliminate plastic waste from our environment. Join us and learn more at!

Materials Recovery Facilities, ByFusion and Reshaping the Future of Plastic

Materials Recovery Facilities, ByFusion and Reshaping the Future of Plastic

Plastic as a material is relatively inexpensive to manufacture, durable, versatile, and can serve a multitude of beneficial purposes. However, the adverse impact plastic waste is having on our environment is due to the mismanagement of this complex material. Plastic waste has become one of the world’s greatest environmental and economic challenges. Today, humans spend over $120B to create over 311M tons of plastic waste every year and only 8% of plastic is actually recycled¹. The other 92% is either landfilled – clogging up communities’ critical infrastructure, incinerated – contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, or its leaked into our streets and, of course, our oceans and waterways. It is time we re-evaluate the unsustainable relationship society has to plastic in order to facilitate a more financially and environmentally efficient solution. Plastic is not the problem. The lack of proper management of plastic waste is the problem. 

The global plastic recycling industry has been in the spotlight over the last few years due to increasing awareness about the abundant plastic waste problem, carbon emissions issue and the need to reduce them both. This coupled with the recent China ban, which took effect in December 2017, has accelerated the need for new and different solutions to plastic waste. ByFusion is offering such a solution through it’s patented process that converts all types of plastic waste into an advanced building material. 

Ground Zero for Plastic Recycling and Diversion– Materials Recovery Facilities (MRF’s) + ByFusion

Materials recovery facilities are cornerstones for every community when it comes to recycling or diversion of plastic waste. Despite their keystone role in every community, MRFs are often underappreciated and caught in the middle of volatile global recycling markets and regional environmental goals. ByFusion designed its product to give MRFs a critical new tool that increases their resilience to this volatility, creates a critical new revenue source and offers increased agility to meet statewide sustainability goals. Since China’s plastic ban, MRFs and related landfills have been required to find new markets for recycling plastic numbered 3 through 7 or, unfortunately, to sort these materials out of consumer recycling bins and send them to the landfill. This increases labor costs and tipping fees in a business noted for razor thin margins, decreases diversion opportunities and discards decades of consumer training to dutifully sort and recycle their plastics. ByFusion solves these problems for materials recovery facilities and the communities they serve. 

Meet the Blocker and ByBlock

Let’s take a moment to meet the two recycling superstars in the ByFusion ecosystem– the Blocker and ByBlock.

We call the Blocker the “ultimate environmental diversion solution”. To explain it simply, this machine takes plastic waste and converts it into construction-grade building blocks, ByBlocks. The Blocker is designed to be placed and operated in MRFs and plastic producing facilities as their purpose is to “maximize the quantity of recyclables processed, while producing materials that will generate the highest possible revenues in the market.”² Because copious amounts of plastic are being sent to MRFs already, they have the ability to significantly increase the plastic being processed by allocating unrecyclable plastics to the Blocker which then produces the ByBlock (without the costs of sorting and prewashing), a product able to generate increased revenue.

Blockers– Modular and Scalable

The Blocker comes in two primary sizes– Community and Industrial. The Community Blocker is geared toward small recycling operations, community projects, disaster relief/clean-up efforts and mobility, with the capacity to process up to 30 tons of plastic per month. The Industrial Blocker, however, is intended for large scale, industrial installations and can be scaled up or down to meet venue space limitations and almost any plastic volume requirement, processing 90+ tons per month. 

Blocker– How it Works

The Blocker takes any plastic waste– shreds, superheats and fuses it into construction-grade building blocks. ByFusion uses a steam-based compression process that does not melt or degrade the polymers. This process, while cost effective, also generates significantly less greenhouse gas emissions than processing plastic for the landfill or recycling, as well as the production of other construction materials such as concrete (Environmental Protection Industry’s 2019 WARM Report).

The innovative technology which makes up the Blocker, converts any type of plastic, including plastic numbered 3-7, which are among the most difficult to recycle, into a useful, marketable construction-grade building block called ByBlock.

ByBlocks in a nutshell– or plastic clam shell as it were:  

  • Dimensions: 16″ x 8″ x 8″ / 40cm x 20cm x 20cm
  • Weight: 22lbs / 10kg
  • Can be customized to specific densities
  • Doesn’t crack or crumble like concrete blocks
  • Requires no glue or adhesives
  • 41% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than concrete blocks

Let’s Build with the ByBlock

ByBlock’s are versatile, tested and ready for deployment in projects including:

  • Landscaping & Walling: Privacy, sound and retaining
  • Infrastructure & Utility: Sound walls, kiosks, storage sheds, security
  • Parks & Recreation: Pavilions, benches, planters, open space projects
  • Commercial, Residential & Consumer: Accent walls, furniture, modular structures such as sheds, detached office spaces and various other residential projects

The ByBlock can be utilized to improve infrastructure by anyone, eliminating the need for highly skilled, in-demand construction tradesmen/women, opening up a whole new labor field to support construction needs. However, as highlighted above, ByFusion’s business plan is not limited to consumer building needs. ByFusion aims to partner with materials recovery facilities, corporations, waste management companies, and governments to install Blockers on site, allowing them to effectively process excess plastic and create an additional revenue stream through the budding ByBlock market. 

Why Choose ByFusion?

Below are four reasons for MRFs to incorporate a ByFusion Blocker into their technology stack:

ByFusion Increases Revenue Opportunities and/or Lowers Costs:

ByFusion allows MRFs to create saleable construction-grade building products, ByBlock, thus creating a new revenue stream and decreasing the overall cost associated with currently sending this plastic to landfill and paying tipping fees.

Decreases Contamination and Increases Diversion:

Contamination in recycling is a major issue for all MRFs. ByFusion creates systemic incentive to sort what is currently considered a contaminant, bound for the landfill and recovers it as valuable material for construction-grade building blocks.

ByFusion’s Blockers Are Modular:

MRFs come in all shapes and sizes and thus require adaptable, modular technology to custom fit their unique waste volumes and space requirements. Similarly, Blockers are designed to support small facilities and waste streams or scaled to meet the needs of large volumes and expansive facilities.

Meeting Community’s Environmental Goals:

MRFs have the challenging position of meeting regional or statewide waste diversion requirements, yet are subject to the vagaries of national and international waste markets.  ByFusion offers MRFs something no other plastic recovery technology does– the opportunity to locally divert a community’s plastic waste and turn it into a product for building local facilities and structures– true local diversion and local recycling.

Our Dedication to Bettering the Environment and Communities Across the Globe

ByFusion is focused on creating a partner network that solves the global plastic crisis by empowering communities to block their waste in place while leveraging it to solve increasing challenges around job creation, affordable housing and crumbling infrastructure, the support of aggressive waste reduction goals, and supply the local market with an incredibly cost effective, 100% recycled advanced building material. ByFusion is recognized by the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, New York Times, Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas (2019), US Green Building Council Net Zero Accelerator (2019), B Corps Best for the World (2019), 1% for the Planet’s Innovation of the Year (2018) and Waste Dive’s ‘Most Disruptive Innovation of the Year’ Award (2016). As a company, we are dedicated to the healing of Earth and truly believe our patented process is a key component to regenerating the planet and reshaping our relationship to plastic.

Plastic Waste and the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day

Plastic Waste and the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day

Plastic is almost a dirty word in today’s environmental movement as scientists and dedicated organizations continue reporting the detrimental impacts that this multipurpose material has on our ecosystems. From crowding landfills to being found in the stomachs of sea life, it is evident that our current relationship to plastic is not sustainable long term. Our ocean and landfills have hit plastic capacity with an estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in our oceans already¹ and 26.8 million tons of plastic found in landfills reported in 2017², making now a crucial time to mobilize around plastic waste and work towards fostering a renewed relationship to the material. With the 50th anniversary of Earth Day just around the corner, we have the opportunity to spark awareness, galvanize support, and inspire action around the future of plastic.

As we mark this historic Earth Day, we find ourselves in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic that has fundamentally disrupted our social and economic systems in the blink of an eye, forcing the world to act urgently. While the reasons and circumstances were unwelcome and unexpected, it has shown that we can indeed unify as a global community to address a global emergency. We are exercising a new and critical muscle that will strengthen our ability to address another existential threat to humanity– the climate change crisis.

History of Earth Day and the Acceptance of Plastic

Earth Day, celebrated annually on April 22nd, began in 1970 with the purpose of spreading environmental awareness and mobilizing the American public to take a stand against pollution and ecosystem degradation. The idea came from former Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, motivated by the devastating effects of the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Earth Day served to inspire significant milestones within the environmental movement, including the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and catalyzed the passage of important environmental legislation.³

By this time in history, plastic was well integrated into the lives of Americans with household, recreation, furniture, and even clothing items being made out of various types of plastic. However, not all Americans were enticed by the convenience of this magic material. The harmful and long lasting implications of plastic became more apparent when plastic debris was first discovered in the ocean in 1960. This awareness continued to spread as environmental education continued through the 70s. With this in mind, the plastic production industry urged for the implementation of recycling in our waste management system as a way of easing American’s acceptance of the material.Today, recycling remains a primary “solution” that our society relies on for the management of plastic, while in reality, plastic waste continues to rapidly invade almost every aspect of all life forms as recycling falls short of any viable solution to the plastic waste problem.

Types of Plastic and Recycling as a “Solution”

All of this is not to say we must ban plastic altogether, but really we must reset our relationship with plastic. Because plastic is made up of various polymers, both synthetic and naturally occurring, it can take on many forms while maintaining it’s lightweight durability. The seven types of plastic, which you often see labeled by a number inside the recycling triangle on consumer items, include:

  1. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET): commonly used for food and drink containers, packaging, etc.
  2. High Density Polyethylene (HDPE): commonly used for soap containers, insulation, helmets, pipes, etc.
  3. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): commonly used for furniture, clothing, medical supplies, etc.
  4. Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE): commonly used for machine parts, lids, trash bags, etc.
  5. Polypropylene (PP): commonly used for clothing, surgery tools, packaging tape, bottle caps, etc.
  6. Polystyrene (Styrofoam): commonly used for disposable drink and food containers, and packing materials.
  7. Other (including acrylic, nylon, fiberglass, polycarbonate, polyactic fibers): used for a variety of items such as sports equipment, baby bottles, and electronic parts.

Plastics numbered 3,4,6, and 7 are difficult and rarely recycled, while 1, 2, and 5 can only be recycled about 2 to 3 times before its quality is too poor to manufacture. Furthermore, since China enacted the “National Sword” policy in 2018, banning the import of plastic and other recyclables to their country for processing, more than half of the world has had to scramble for another solution. Needless to say, with China no longer allowing their waste processing facilities to be the dumping grounds of the industrialized world, the amount of plastic going straight to landfills has increased dramatically. It is now up to us to rethink our relationship with plastic and explore alternatives to how we manage it as waste.

COVID-19 Impacts on Plastic Use

The COVID-19 crisis has had a significant effect on the demand of single-use plastic. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The war on plastics is being put on hold as the battle to contain coronavirus ramps up.”¹⁰ It is a common phenomena that environmental efforts are set aside in the wake of disaster response and recovery. Amidst the global pandemic, demand is increasing for plastic bags, single-use utensils, cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer bottles, and plastic water bottles. Additionally, the stay at home order in efforts to stop the spread of the virus has led to an increase in home delivery demands often accompanied by single-use packaging. COVID-19 has prompted the public to think more about where and who has touched their products, leading to a retroactive perspective on the necessity of plastic packaging.

Plastic is deeply woven into every aspect of human life. Recycling has proven to be a band aid, at best, to address the exploding plastic waste problem. Reducing unnecessary plastic use is a worthy plan to decrease the addition of excess plastic into the environment. However, assuming plastic is here to stay for the foreseeable future, we must find a use for today’s plastic that offers this material a long term, sustainable, and useful purpose. Enter ByFusion.

ByFusion– A New Life for Plastic Waste

Driven by a desire to end plastic waste, we launched ByFusion, which has developed the first construction-grade building material made entirely from recycled (and often unrecyclable) plastic waste.

ByFusion is part of the larger movement working to combat climate change through innovative uses of technology. Most commonly installed in a community’s materials recovery facility (MRF), the ByFusion Blocker uses steam and compression to convert all types of plastic waste into a revolutionary building material called ByBlock. ByFusion diverts trash destined for the landfill, repurposes the mixed materials into a consolidated building block, and gives plastic waste a long term, sustainable purpose. ByBlocks can be utilized for everyday structures like sheds, walls and anything else requiring construction-grade building material. Compared to conventional concrete building blocks, ByFusion’s ByBlocks account for 41% less greenhouse gas emissions as per the Environmental Protection Industry’s 2012 report in the Waste Reduction Model (WARM).

Notably, plastic production is not all aimed for single-use products. Plastic has shown to be an excellent material for modern society through its use for life saving medical supplies, transportation needs, electronics, sports, and even energy efficiency.¹¹ As we are on the brink of widespread climate disaster, now is the time to shift plastic production away from convenience and towards essential. Increasing public awareness, pressuring corporations and the government to make changes, and utilizing purchasing power are all necessary tools in the fight against further harmful plastic production. However, the need for a clean-up solution for the current overflowing plastic waste is evident. ByFusion’s model has the potential to alleviate the excess waste already disrupting earth’s ecosystems while society collectively steps away from nonessential single-use straws, take out containers, hygiene bottles, and all other unnecessary uses of plastic. ByFusion offers every community in the world the ability to repurpose their own plastic waste to create valuable building material for municipal projects – truly closing the waste loop and creating local solutions to global problems.

Earth Day: Not Canceled

Although this Earth Day will merit an unusual celebration without marches and festivals, the climate crisis has not been canceled and neither will Earth Day. The 50th anniversary of Earth Day represents 50 years of progress, of environmental awareness, of a movement working to heal our planet.

At ByFusion, we have an ambitious goal: Recycling 100 million tons of plastic by 2030’s Earth Day. We are excited to be part of a global ecosystem of change makers, companies, organizations and agencies who, in the time of COVID and after, are relentlessly pursuing every angle to redevelop our relationship with plastic.

Happy birthday Earth Day, we are grateful to the movements you inspire.