Upon seeing two big problems in the world, a local man has found one solution that can help with both. 

Josh Griffin of Winnipeg is hoping to create small homeless shelters for the less fortunate in the city as soon as he can, to help with weather extremes, using recycled bricks. 

Even though there are many campaigns to reduce, reuse, and recycle are out there, millions of pieces of plastic still find their way into the ocean each year. 

"My older brother has been living in Bali, Indonesia for approximately 10 years now. A few years ago I was fortunate enough to be able to go out and spend some time with him. While I was out there I saw how big of a plastic pollution problem they have," says Griffin. 

Griffin's brother alerted him to the beaches being filled with plastic bottles and other things every time they had their wet season. 

"When I got back to Canada it got me thinking on how you could turn these recycled plastics into building materials. I started doing lots of research and that’s when I came across precious plastic and thought this idea would work perfectly," says Griffin.

According to their website, Precious Plastic is a combination of people, machines, platforms and knowledge
to create an alternative global recycling system. One way is to take recyclable plastic and make it into something else, like a brick. 

"I don’t think anyone should have to sleep outside in the extreme cold temperatures we get. I think this is terrible and want to do everything I can to help fix this issue," he says.

That's when the two ideas came together for Griffin. He decided to start making bricks from plastic and make those bricks into shelters for people experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg. 

Example of one of the shelters to be made out of recycled bricks. Example of one of the shelters to be made out of recycled bricks. (Supplied)

"They will be effective in providing some protection year-round. I would make them small in size, so each one would fit a single person. This could also help a little with giving personal space/separation during COVID."

Griffin is in the beginning stages of making the shelters and still needs to raise more awareness and funds. 

"It is amazing that the community has been supportive, and has helped spread the word about this. I am hoping to have volunteers that will help hands-on when the time comes to build the shelters. I will also be needing as much HDPE #2 plastic donations as possible."

Once his project gets off the ground, Griffin hopes it will end up benefitting many people and communities. To date, he has raised just over $2,500 with a GoFundMe.  

"I want to teach the process of turning recycled plastics into new building materials to as many people as I can. The temporary homeless shelters are the first phase of this project. After the shelters are made, I am wanting to make different types of building materials and hoping to have these materials being used all across Canada."