Great ideas can spring from small beginnings. So here's a great one from South America.

According to Colombian English-language newspaper The City Paper, a homegrown start-up company in Bogota has begun turning local plastic waste into custom-made construction materials resembling Lego.

Conceptos Plasticos recently won the 2016 The Venture award worth $412,000 for entrepreneurship and creating social change through impact.

The initiative is the brainchild of Bogota-based architect Oscar Mendez.


During the last two years, the Conceptos Plasticos team melted and moulded 300 tons of plastic into building blocks for the construction of eco-homes in poor, rural areas.

According to Mr Mendez, a one-family home for four people, takes only five days to build.

"By using only 2 per cent of all the plastic produced we can fix Latin America's housing in just 10 years," the architect said.

The Conceptos Plasticos construction is 30 per cent cheaper than conventional methods in rural areas, with the advantage that the homes can be dismantled and moved elsewhere.

Also, considering the blocks' components are plastic-based, the resulting material is strong, durable, and earthquake resistant, the newspaper said.

The average lifespan of a Lego-like block is 500 years and is able to withstand extreme weather conditions. Additives also ensure the blocks are fire resistant.

The price of a single-family house starts at $12 million pesos or $5500. The final cost is measured by kilogram of plastic processed, rather than square metre built.