Kunjpreet Arora and Lokesh Puri Goswami, co-founders of an Udaipur based startup Angirus Ind Pvt. Ltd., have innovated a way of making bricks using domestic and industrial waste. Termed as Wricks, the blocks are built with plastic, marble, demolition and thermal waste, instead of soil. During the process of coming up with this method, some of their batchmates from Techno India NJR Institute of Technology in Udaipur, namely, Krishna Chaudhary, Daidipya Kothari and Honey Singh Kothari, had a huge role to realise this enterprise. Recalling the germination of the idea, Kunjpreet says, “This idea popped when we looked at our college ground which was covered with plastic bottles. Being civil engineering students, we thought of using it for something useful.”

However, after the entire product was conceptualised, there were difficulties in its execution. Kunjpreet recalls that it was challenging to manufacture the first block of Wricks.

“To check Plastic waste's bonding with other materials, we tried making a small cube of Wricks. We did that in an oven to melt the plastic waste mixed with other components of Wricks. It was difficult and risky to make the first cube in the oven, but that crude block showed us that this idea could be conceptualised. Our second try was in an open pan where we provided it fire at the bottom, but it caught fire. It was the time we realised that we should make a proper technology system to make such kinds of bricks,” says Kunjpreet.

The team then, after tireless research and execution, came up with a prototype comprising 30 to 40 percent plastic waste, 40 to 50 percent demolition waste, and 20 percent marble waste along with  thermal waste. In a city like Udaipur, where the disposal of marble slurry into lakes and other water bodies is a major source of pollution, this innovation offers an eco-friendly solution.

According to the CSE India Report, India is the second largest manufacturer of bricks, with an estimated 200 billion bricks produced per year to meet the needs of government as well as private infrastructure projects across the country.

This in turn exhausts a great amount of good quality soil. In addition, red clay bricks are made in a brick kiln which releases a huge amount of gaseous pollutants, carbon dioxide and black carbon. Kunjpreet says, “It is estimated that India releases 80.7 Kg of CO2 per thousand bricks. Therefore 250 Billion bricks which are produced in India annually, terminates 20.18 Tg of CO2 per annum. Brick Industry has become the second-largest source of air pollution in India, and soon, it will reach first if not stopped.”

In contrast to this, Wricks ensures zero-carbon emissions, and is hence, harmless. “Wricks Technology is eco-Friendly and sustainable. It does not create any harmful substances in the environment. Wricks’ technology requires heating up to only 250 degrees Celsius, whereas at brick kilns, the temperature goes up to 1,200 degrees Celsius,” says Kunjpreet.

Wricks come with multiple benefits when compared to the usual red bricks. While one of the major distinguishing features of Wricks is its efficient utilisation of domestic and industrial waste, tests have confirmed it to be light-weight, durable, and porous. “Wricks’ technology is fast and recyclable and can be easily adopted in any region of the country. Wricks doesn't use any natural resources like soil, water or coal. It is made 100 percent from recycled waste material, including plastic waste and C&D (construction and demolition) waste,” says Kunjpreet.

Wricks weigh almost 1 kilogram less than red clay bricks, leading to a considerable reduction in the structure load and labour costs. Wricks can be manufactured in an extremely short span of time, with the soaking and curing procedures completely eliminated, thus also saving water. Since the manufacturing time for Wricks is much faster than for the red clay bricks, there is much less dependence on labour and thus, less chances of poor working conditions or deployment of child labour to a large extent. Overall, about 100 to 120 bricks can be produced in one hour, at a cost of only 3 rupees per brick. This low cost can also be attributed to the fact that Wricks does not require plaster, expensive paint, and any waterproofing.

Speaking about the overall results for Wricks, Kunjpreet says, “It has given better results than the red clay bricks or any other bricks in the market. Therefore, we think that people should switch to Wricks in the near future instead of using red clay bricks.”

Co-founders of Angirus Ind Pvt. Ltd., Lokesh Puri Goswami and Kunjpreet Arora, with the final designs of Wricks. Image credit: Kunjpreet Arora

Kunjpreet is extremely optimistic about the way forward for Wricks, and feels it will make a major impact across Rajasthan.

“Recently we secured operations of C&D waste recycling plant from Udaipur Municipal Corporation to make Wricks. 13 smart cities started with C&D waste recycling plant and 57 more are to start. Our first target is those smart cities with the C&D waste recycling plant where we have to replicate the same model with Udaipur smart city and manufacture and sell Wricks in the smart city itself,” says Kunjpreet.

However, the long-term goal for the team is to make Wricks available all across the country. Kunjpreet says, “At a national level, the objective of Wricks is to help brick manufacturers who are suffering from brick kiln carbon emissions and government restrictions. This can be made possible by licensing the Wricks technology and providing them with a clean and sustainable working environment. This will save the transportation and logistics cost and thus Wricks can be made available across the country.”
Well, innovations like Wricks are certainly becoming  tools for a sustainable and environmentally friendly future by also converting waste into wealth.

Edited by Anjali Hans

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