In recent years, the activity of the construction sector increased because of the rapid urban growth. According to estimates, about 230 billion square meters will be built in the next four decades. The constructions and the management of buildings have become a source of pollution that produces almost 40% of CO2 emissions and consumes almost 36% of energy globally.
3Construcciones (3Constructions), also known as 3C, was selected in the Resilient Cordoba Challenge as a contribution to the urban social economy that foster circular economy and creates sustainable jobs. This initiative aims to build infrastructure implementing a plastic recycling model to benefit vulnerable populations.
3C makes blocks from pressed PET bottles framed in wood to give them structure to build walls, instead of regular bricks. The plastic in the bottles acts as an insulator and is waterproof, so the waste materials can be reused for the construction of infrastructure. The process of making the blocks uses no and the use of energy is limited, so the environmental impacts associated with their production are minimal.
Thanks to the use of recycled and light materials, 3C contributes to access to decent housing by reducing acquisition costs by up to 65% to 75% of the market price of a property built in a traditional way thanks to the reduction of investment for construction, for example, in the construction of the foundation.
3C creates works for vulnerable populations to create the blocks and build the houses. It contributes to the economic growth of the local communities.
The 3C of the industrial and social innovation that the initiative promotes are:
a) Creating highly efficient and sustainable independent productive units in the most vulnerable sectors of society;
b) Creating a high positive impact on the environment through the use in large quantities of plastic and wood waste, and improving the energy efficiency of buildings;
c) Creating a social impact through the development of a construction system that is cheaper, faster, lighter, and more efficient than the traditional one with bricks.
Replicating the 3C model is a contribution to urban resilience in Latin America by reducing the pollution resulting from construction, helping to reduce the factors that favor climate change; facilitate access to low-cost quality housing and promote employment among vulnerable populations to avoid tensions resulting from social inequality.
Read more of the history, the experiences and the learnings of this initiative in the article published in “Circular economy and resilience in the cities. Innovative initiatives for a better quality of life” (in Spanish) of the Resilient Cities Initiative.
 UNEP (2018) El sector de la construcción y los edificios tiene un rol clave en la reducción de emisiones. Consultado en https://www.unep.org/es/noticias-y-reportajes/comunicado-de-prensa/el-sector-de-la-construccion-y-los-edificios-tiene-un