New Building Products from Waste Materials in India
India’s society is made up of a great variety of different sectors which, although socially strictly separate, are financially dependent upon one another - in striking contrast to many countries in Europe which are dominated by a middle-class majority. Small elite cosmopolitan groups reside in the cities, while approximately 75% of the population lives in poverty in the countryside. This situation results in enormous migratory pressure on the urban centres, pressure for which they are ill-equipped. As a result of this, informal organic developments flourish as independent settlements within the cities, usually on plots of ground with little or no financial value; on river banks, along railway lines and roadways, and in deserted industrial estates. The expression »Squatter Settlement« has come into being in India. Trade of discarded materials for the construction of these settlements is a booming business within a highly complex network. The results are that, while the poorest of the economical classes are being provided with building materials, they are also able to earn meagre incomes by collecting, sorting and trading in the waste materials. As part of a research project, recycling processes of plastic waste, appropriate for use in small facilities, are being examined. Various binding agents – both mineral and plastic – which enhance the possibilities of waste recycling are being inspected. Products have been developed for both types of binding agents, ranging from masonry blocks to slabs and panels.