Papercrete

Papercrete is made from recycled paper and/or cardboard with sand and Portland cement. Pulverised waste glass from recycled bottles may be used instead of sand and glossy magazines can be mixed in with standard newsprint. The material is made by dry mixing shredded paper with sand and Portland cement in the approximate ratio of 3 : 1 : 1. Water is added to make a paper-mâché slurry that can be cast into block units or into monolithic structures. Where papercrete blocks are used in construction, then the same material can be used as the mortar. The material dries to a grey colour. It is, however, very water-absorbent and must be protected from moisture and weather by appropriate detailing. Externally a stronger mix of 1 : 1 paper and cement may be used as a stucco layer, and internally papercrete plaster may be used to give a textured or patterned finish. Papercrete is still an experimental material, but it has the potential to remove up to 20% of the waste material currently deposited in landfill sites. As a lightweight material it has good insulating properties and the cement content significantly increases its fire resistance.

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