The Centre for Regenerative Design and Collaboration (CRDC) has developed a process whereby all types of plastic waste, including Resins 1 to 7, are processed into an eco-aggregate called RESIN8.

CRDC SA’s first batches of RESIN8 get positive response from concrete product manufacturers

CRDC SA has tested various plastic waste streams at its pilot plant in Blackheath, Cape Town.  This enabled CRDC SA to supply over 100 tons of RESIN8 to various concrete product manufacturers, external laboratories and universities for testing in concrete products.

According to CRDC SA’s CEO, Abraham Avenant, a civil engineer with more than 25 years of experience in the construction industry, the reaction from concrete manufacturers and end-users so far has been very positive. Concrete products manufactured with a percentage of RESIN8 replacement – including bricks, pipes, pavers and kerbstones – have met and even exceeded the requirements of the SANS specifications. 


Started in Costa Rica

The CRDC is a global project that originated in Costa Rica in Central America (just north of Panama) in 2018 when Donald Thomson, at the time a local building developer, saw an opportunity to use donations from resort developments to uplift the local community. Two abandoned beach bars were developed into community centres during that year and various activities were trialled to uplift unemployed people in the area. Then, with considerable quantities of plastic scrap cluttering the area, Thomson’s vision shifted towards plastic recycling, and this became the core of the venture, which adopted the word ‘regenerative’ in its name, an apt choice for a recycling undertaking.

Being involved in construction, Thomson at the outset saw the possibility to supply the mingled scrap to concrete manufacturers. A critical part of the rollout was the development of its RESIN8 bonding additive. The additive allows the plastic particles to adhere and bond with the concrete mix. Failure to do so could result in plastic particles in the concrete substrate flaking off, which obviously would not be desirable.

CRDC’s innovative process is waterless. The waste plastic is firstly shredded and pre-conditioned with mineral additives to eliminate all pathogens and odours.  The mixture is then run through an extruder with a small amount of moisture, which produces a hybrid mineral-polymer with an open-cell structure.  The bulk RESIN8 is then granulated into the size, shape, and gradation required by standard concrete mix designs.

CRDC SA aims to create appreciating value from the world’s plastic waste.  Its process offers a solution for various partners such as waste management companies, FMCG companies, producers of plastic products and NPOs that focus on environmental clean-ups.  CRDC SA also works closely with current plastic recycling organisations as the non-recyclable waste from these organisations can be used by CRDC SA.

“Part of our mission is to create value for items and materials that were previously thought to be unrecyclable,” says Avenant.


New plant will produce 725 tons of RESIN8 per month

CRDC SA has secured funding for the first upscale RESIN8 plant which is being commissioned at the same location as the pilot plant.  Once at full capacity, this plant will enable CRDC SA to process 610 tons of plastic waste per month, thereby producing 725 tons of RESIN8 per month.  CRDC SA has signed letters of intent with various concrete product manufacturers in the region for this volume of RESIN8.

Part of the CRDC success story to date has been its partnership with a number of funders; these include the big material manufacturers Braskem (Brazil) and Dow (USA/global), the industry sustainability organisations Alliance to End Plastic Waste, the Ocean Recovery Alliance, the United Nations Development Programme and Polyco, a local PRO (Professional Recycling Organisation).