In our rapidly advancing world, a crucial emphasis lies on the processes aimed at achieving global sustainable management of resources. The architectural and construction industry requires many natural resources such as stone, steel, wood, plastics, and other energy sources.
Nowadays, Sustainable thinking has become imperative in achieving less impactful structures in terms of energy and lifecycle costs. Plastics fall into the category of non-degradable materials that cannot be broken down by natural organisms or agents and continue to exist on the earth’s surface for many years. Such materials not only act as a source of pollution but many of these wastes cannot be easily handled.
Nonetheless, biodegradable plastics exist as a solution to these problems. However, they are costly to manufacture. Therefore, while achieving global development, it is imperative to consider the concepts and processes of reduction, reuse, and recycling to prevent the accumulation of such wastes as plastics.
According to the Africa Waste Management Outlook report of 2018, “Africa is currently recycling only 4% of its waste,” for which 70-80% are of a recyclable capacity. Furthermore, the report highlighted that this was a significant deviation from the goal set by the African Union that African cities will be recycling a minimum of 50% of waste generated by 2023. The average waste collection rate is roughly 55% in Africa, with over 90% generated waste disposed at landfills and uncontrolled dumpsites.
Nineteen of the world’s 50 largest dumpsites are in Africa and the Sub-Saharan region. Moreover, the African Waste Management Outlook reported the waste generated in Africa to be 13% plastic and 57% organic waste. Also, the report stated that waste management holds a significant socio-economic value for the continent, which is not currently maximized. Africa’s municipal waste generation (MSW) in the year 2012 was benchmarked at 125 million tons and expected to double. Therefore, this projection will indicate the same rise in plastic waste by the projected year.
The Stack Restaurant and Bar is a conceptual response to the outlined challenges. The design consists of 1239 beer crates stacked to form sections of the walls, column, ceiling, bar table, and wine bar. These crates also house plants that bring nature, coolness, and an ambiance of refreshment to the entire space. While the African recycling industries develop, the reusable practices utilized in the Stack Restaurant and Bar design points to immediate solutions that the construction industry can imbibe in waste management and sustainable development.
Adaptation fosters the reduction of linked environmental impacts of producing and transporting new materials, decreasing the pressure on new lands, preserving the embodied energy of materials, and reducing the generation of waste residues. In Nigeria, there is an increasing trend of adapting buildings to have a new function – with an increasing trend of adapting residential apartments to commercial or mixed-use buildings. Apart from the modular and structural benefits of crates, they foster the concept of a “reusable building.” The crates can easily be disassembled and reused in constructing another structure or modifying the existing one – more like a set of “Lego Blocks.” Therefore, this provides developers and construction professionals with temporary and permanent building options.