There are huge polluting companies throughout the world, such as companies that manufacture cement or mine for coal. However, there is one giant coal mining company in South Africa that is changing its ways to make their activites more eco-friendly for the world.
AngloAmerican has decided to make good use of their waste by-product called gypsum. Gypsum is a non-toxic mineral that is soluble when wet, but also incredibly hard when dry. They experimented with gypsum and found that when mixed with cement, it stays waterproof and can continue to stay dry.
From this, an eco-friendly brick can be made which is even better than traditional cement bricks because it is harder with greater sound and heat insulation. As this brick is composed of less cement there is less of a need for cement manufacture which substantially reduces the amount of the pollutant carbon dioxide.
So far, AngloAmerican have built 62 houses with these eco-friendly bricks, and plan to build another 400 to house their entire workforce.
Head of Minerals at the British Geological Survey, Andrew Bloodworth, is a little sceptical that gypsum is a safe material to use because it is water soluble and will lose its hard properties as soon as it gets wet.
Peter Gunther, AngloAmerican’s head of sustainable development has responded to concerns saying “the brick mixture has been subjected to the most rigorous trials by the South African Bureau of Standards, and passed without any problems.”