If chewing gum gets stuck on your clothes, what would you do? Worry about how to get it off? Or like Valsad's then 11-year old Binish Desai, you can figure out a way to turn this into environment friendly P-Blocks, then homes, then toilets and so on. 
   
That is effectively the story of Desai, the boy who managed to turn the waste into composite, that is both friendly to the environment, and provides a credible and innovative alternative to clay and cement-based bricks. 
   
Bricks made of paper waste and organic chewing gum base? The sceptics will scoff at their durability and ability to withstand weather and other challenges. But the research and comparison matrix with traditional bricks show how these paper-waste-based bricks are cheaper, better on water absorbency, larger in size and less energy consuming during manual production. These fire retarded bricks are formable and undergo any deformation without being damaged.
   
This paper sludge, which varies, based on the type of paper waste used, is being employed for manual production of bricks. Normally, this sludge has no other use and is sold by paper mills for landfill use. The secret in the quality of P-Blocks comes from the specially formulated gum base, which is also the key ingredient that binds together and is kept a trade secret.
   
Desai is also experimenting with other types of waste, such as gypsum waste, metal waste, textile waste, and various types of secondary paper waste, such as sludge from cardboard or craft paper sludge. 
   
Desai insists that apart from labour, the biggest cost input into his P-block manufacturing is the cost of power, as the process will be power-intensive if fully automated. To tackle this, the startup is looking at switching to a solar-driven power system, which will enable them to off-grid. He admits that this will be costly in the near term, but will have long term savings, and be environmentally-friendly too. The current technology involves drying it naturally in sunlight which takes time and does not yield mass production. The research is ongoing to automate the process.

This is why Desai has expanded from merely creating the bricks, to eco-friendly BDream Sauchalaya which is now perfectly in sync with the government's subsequent Swachh Bharat campaign. For Desai, cleaning streets is not the only way to Swachh Bharat, but it is also about creating sustainable solutions, such as recycling of industrial waste and low-cost rural toilets made of P-Blocks, which will have a much more lasting impact on the lives of the people.
   
He is extremely critical of the traditional red bricks industry, which he claims is highly unorganised, hugely polluting, unregistered and many do not follow government standards. Also, at a time when water is scarce across the globe, Desai wants to wean off the country by avoiding the water guzzling red bricks and replacing them with his eco-friendly bricks. By providing an alternative that can replace these red bricks, Desai wants to change the approach to construction itself. 
   

 

Segment

Particular

P Block Brick

Red Clay Brick

Fly Ash Brick

AAC Brick

Dimensional Comparison

Strength

40–90 kg/cm2

30–50 kg/ cm2

55-90 kg/ cm2

28-35kg/cm2

Water Absorbance

10-15%

20-25%

10-15%

15-20%

Wastage/Breakage

2-3%

8-10%

6-8%

6-8%

Mortar joint Thickness

6-9 mm

15-18
mm

8-10 mm

4-5 mm

Plaster Thickness

8-10 mm

15-20 mm

11-13 mm

6-8 mm

Cost Advantage

Dimension

12" * 5" * 4"

9" * 4" * 3"

9" * 5" * 3"

12" * 8" * 5"

Square Inches 

240

108

135

480

Conversion

144

144

144

144

Sq Ft  

1.67

0.75

0.94

3.33

Indicative SP  

4

5.5

7

60

Per Sq Ft 

2.4

7.33

7.47

18

Difference

 --

4.93

5.07

15.6

(%) Wise 

 --

67.27

67.86

86.67


Battling early scepticism of all, when Desai managed to convince a paper mill to allow him to work from their garage area, where he manually created his bricks, and did his own testing for months, he has traversed a long journey to now being able to provide eco-friendly solutions for CSR projects.
   
His innovative approach to problem solving, has caught the eye of those who matter and a few of those convinced by Desai's innovations are Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel. He has also been interviewed by Indian film industry's biggest superstar Amitabh Bachchan as part of NDTV's Cleanathon 2014, where those who had contributed to Swachh Bharat Abhiyan were feted.
   
There is a palpable excitement in Desai's voice when he talks about his vision on how these products could be the answer to many of the problems that have faced rural infrastructure over the years. The confidence shown by corporates in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh using his products and technology, to build toilets under their corporate social responsibility programmes, has only emboldened Desai to think bigger!
   
Although the blocks can be used in lieu of the polluting red bricks, for any type of building, Desai wants to think big, but by focusing on the rural and affordable housing space. With the government's 'Housing for All' pitch, he is keen to partner with players who are in that space and want to come up with construction solutions that meet the requirements of the less privileged, the poor and the growing middle class segments that want to own homes today.
       
While he continues to improve and expand on his products in Gujarat, he is also looking to expand his presence not only across India, but in developing nations across the globe, that need similar innovative solutions for their problems. His eyes are firmly set on now tackling the problem of recycling plastic, and is looking at tying up with the global pioneers in that space, to embrace their technology and bring it to India.
   
While his hands are already full, Desai is already planning a research facility for grassroots innovators and is also planning to go to educational institutions and teach them to take waste seriously. Desai is also a proud member of Rotary Club of Bulsar district 3060 and a past Rotary Youth Exchange student. For his achievements during his exchange year in 2009-10, he recently became one of the youngest to be nominated for Rotary International Alumni Humanitarian of the year award and winner of the same for South Asia.
   

Desai is just 23 years old and he is just getting started. As his work over the last seven years of his commercial operations show, he is made from a different type of clay. With all due respect to the great Pink Floyd's song

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