The Polystyrene Packaging Council (PSPC) in partnership with the Mobile Education and Training Trust (METT), a Non-Profit Organisation, has unveiled the new Village of Hope, a R285-million project that is nearing completion in Kosmos in the North West Province.
Based on the concept of the successful LIV Village that was founded by Tich and Joan Smith in KwaZulu-Natal in 2001, this new 20 850m² Village of Hope is situated on 285 hectare land overlooking the beautiful Hartebeespoort Dam, and built entirely from a revolutionary new building and construction method that incorporates recycled polystyrene.
The pilot programme, which effectively uses polystyrene which has been separated at source owing to its patented chemical cocktail that neutralises the bacteria contamination, was launched in 2012.
Building with recycled polystyrene offers government a much needed solution for reducing building and construction in low cost housing projects, as well as to the polystyrene recycling industry. It successfully uses and includes coloured and black contaminated polystyrene found in abundance in food packaging applications, including fast food trays, take away cups or trays used to package meat and fresh fruit.
“Until a few years ago, only clear, colourless or white polystyrene was considered to have recycling value. As a result, waste management and recycling companies preferred to only collect and recycle unpigmented containers, while the coloured and black material offered the same excellent insulation qualities and was readily available, but had not viable end-market,” Adri Spangenberg of the Polystyrene Packaging Council explains.
Thanks to Snyman and his team, however, a new globally patented mixture was developed containing all grades and colours of recycled polystyrene, combined with 9 different chemicals and cement.
The PSPC plays a facilitation role between end-users of recycled polystyrene and waste management companies to ensure a continued supply of material that will keep up with the demand. Each week large quantities of polystyrene are delivered to the site for recycling primarily by growers, nurseries and plant centres located in Brits and surrounding areas, as far afield as Pretoria, who use expanded polystyrene for their seedling trays.
“We recycle 720kg of polystyrene to build a build a 68m2 house. Last year alone we recycled and diverted more than 613 tons of polystyrene away from landfill through our building method. Not only does our solid wall system greatly reduce the use of cement and concrete, but also reduce the overall cost of building by up to 40 %,” Hennie says.
The various elements are mixed, poured into slabs and left for 7 days to dry before a lightweight, yet strong and incredibly solid wall structure is rock hard and ready to be used.
METT says their buildings have gone through every conceivable test, ranging from structural and load impact tests, to rain penetration resistance and the so-called “knock test” to hear if the walls have a hollow sound. In each test, the product far exceeded the minimum requirements.
“Fire rating is obviously a very important consideration for low cost housing in South Africa where we have too much losses and deaths caused by fires in townships. During a recent 4,5 hour burn test in a furnace of 1 800 degrees Celsius, the fire only penetrated 1 cm into the walls, giving it one of the best fire ratings in the world. The SABS, CSIR and various international agencies have tested or products, and it came through with flying colours every time,” Snyman says.
Snyman adds that the design of a 32m² pensioner’s house has just been approved, costing only around R28 000 to build. “This is an affordable construction option that enables Government to provide the poorest of the poor with houses. But we are not only restricted to GAP or RDP houses.”
The Village of Hope will be able to accommodate 1 000 orphans coming from the North West province when it officially opens its doors in January 2017. They will provide long term foster care, giving children a sense of belonging in a homely environment, modelling an African village lifestyle.
“It is clear that this composite product offers great potential and will be the solution for all housing and social needs in our country. This is the ideal product that not only addresses the concept of green building by using material from the waste stream and reduces the amount of litter that is sent to our landfills, but it also increases unskilled employment, provides affordable construction costs and offers an answer to the housing backlog by virtue of its short construction time. We are excited to the tremendous progress made in the construction of the Village of Hope, and look forward to the roll-out of many more similar projects”, concluded Adri.