Have plastic bottles you want recycled rather than dumped into landfills? How about those plastic grocery bags? And what about that broken skateboard, or old toothbrush?
“If it’s plastic,” Ross Gibby said, “we’ll take it.”
Gibby is Chief Operating Officer at CRDC Global Limited, which states on its site that is “a disruptive building materials company that creates appreciating value from the world’s plastic waste.” CRDC Global was founded in 2018 and has scaled operations from its Costa Rica base to Australia, Hong Kong, Mexico, Samoa, South Africa, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and most recently, the United States, in particular York County.
“We need the sort of innovation that CRDC brings, and we welcome any solution that makes our city more sustainable,” City of York Mayor Michael Helfrich said after the York facility was announced.
The company’s low-carbon process accepts all plastic waste and converts it into climate-resilient concrete additives and eco-aggregates that are marketed and produced as RESIN8. Suitable for concrete blocks and pavers, pre-cast concrete, ready-mix concrete, mortars, and hot mix asphalt, RESIN8 represents what the company calls “a breakthrough concrete additive made from mixed plastic waste.” It is up to 15% lighter or stronger depending on its usage, with up to 20% better insultation properties than traditional concrete.
Among other uses, RESIN8 has been utilized by Habitat for Humanity to build social housing in Latin America. Along with Habitat for Humanity, CRDC Global partners with additional international organizations such as The Alliance to End Plastic Waste, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and works with waste management and construction industries around the world.
The York factory became operational Oct. 21 and Gibby said people in the White Rose City have been thanking CRDC for opening operations there. York was chosen as the first location in the U.S. and second in the world – Costa Rica being the first – because, as Gibby noted, it checked all the boxes.
“York served our needs well,” said Gibby. “We didn’t want to go too big too soon.”
Gibby, who himself is passionate about converting waste into value and is working to end plastic waste, believes that once people become engaged in dealing with plastic waste in a positive fashion, community awareness will help drive expansion. Possible sites for CRDC expansion include Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Ultimately, there are plans to have 50-100 plants across the U.S., including potential sites in Atlanta, Austin, San Francisco, Seattle, and Boulder, Colorado.
“We want to reach as wide a geographic area as possible,” said Gibby. The goal, he added, is to “have a RESIN8 facility wherever there is people and waste and construction. We’re trying to serve all markets.”
CRDC’s approach is based on the acronym REAP – Recover, Enrich, Appreciate, Prosper:
- Recover – CRDC looks to recover unwanted plastic in numerous ways, including their new “Bag that Builds” plastic recovery program with UNDP and other partners
- Enrich – The company’s patented process converts all varieties of plastic into RESIN8
- Appreciate – CRDC works with industry partners to improve the performance and value of structural and non-structural concrete applications
- Prosper – The company focuses on improved economic, environmental, and societal outcomes, including working with partners like Habitat for Humanity on sustainable infrastructure solutions.
The REAP approach is based on what CRDC calls “a collaborative net-zero circular economy model that views the plastic and construction industries as a connected system.” The company seeks to create relationships between the connected systems so that the plastic industry stream becomes the raw material and value stream for industries focused on building and construction.
CRDC believes, in its words, “that a business-led approach, rooted in collaboration with the private sector, government NGO’s and international institutions, combined with disruptive innovation throughout the value chains, can achieve better economic, environmental, and social outcomes for all.”
Gibby said discussions are progressing rapidly for CRDC to have a national footprint in the U.S. Plastic waste of every type will be taken and transformed into RESIN8. Designed by and for the construction industry, the building material has been extensively tested and shown to improve the structural performance of concrete. Thus, a commercial solution for waste is produced, keeping the environment free of unwanted plastic.
“We partner with the waste management side and the construction side,” said Gibby, who added that facilities will be structured to match geographic regions and locations. “Our approach is to expand and replicate as quickly as possible to address the very dire plastic waste situation. We’re just scratching the surface of where this might go.”