Waste for Warmth is a consortium humanitarian innovation project that utilizes local waste plastic to create insulation using polyfloss technology. The polyfloss machine uses hot centrifugal extrusion with a rotating and heated head that contains a small slit along the edge that allows the shredded waste plastic to be fiberized. Working alongside Field Ready Turkiye, and The Polyfloss Factory, IUG provides oversight and management of project.
In 2020 we started working together to develop and test a new approach to winter insulation of tents in refugee camps. Since then, the project has had the opportunity to develop, test, refine, and update various recycled plastic insulation products for a variety of shelter types and has relied on a number of relevant and critical IUG volunteer engineering assignments along the way.
In 2021 the Waste for Warmth project sent a polyfloss machine to Gaziantep, Turkiye and established a research and development hub which is run and managed by the Field Ready Turkiye team. The Field Ready team has been focused on developing and providing insulation solutions for the millions of refugees living in temporary camps in Syria and neighboring countries. Utilizing the polyfloss machine and other plastic recycling machinery the team has developed multiple insulation solutions including exterior shelter polyfloss insulation panels, interior shelter polyfloss insulation panels, floor tiles, and sleeping bags. In late 2021 Waste for Warmth conducted it’s first pilot supplying exterior polyfloss insulation panels to the French NGO ACTED. These panels were installed on the exterior of 13 homes in northern Syria, with all beneficiary families satisfied with the insulation, and reporting that the insulation panels increased the indoor temperature in the colder months. Since that time, additional shelters have been insulated with both interior polyfloss insulation panels and floor tiles in coordination with the NGO Watan.
Throughout 2022 the Waste for Warmth project has continued it’s focus on establishing projects to improve the thermal comfort of Syrian refugees as well as starting to identify other possible partners and collaborators across the globe. In September 2022 two additional Polyfloss machines were sent to Nepal. One is housed with FabLab Nepal and is part of a project to create household construction materials. The second machine is housed with Green Decision Labs and Research, a Nepali social enterprise dedicated to urban sustainability that work in the areas of waste management, air pollution, and green enterprise among others. Green Decision Labs and Research is currently partnering with World Vision to pilot a project in Western Nepal creating insulation for school roofs.