Best Projects 2019 features all the nominated entries submitted ‘Submit your Project’ category. All the entries consist of innovative projects run by existing enterprises in the form of businesses, NGOs or informal programs.
Explain your project in details:
Zelij Invent is green tech solution that transforms plastic waste into eco-friendly and sustainable paving blocks and traditional floor tiles. Founded in 2017, Zelij developed an innovative material using 80% of plastic waste and 20% ecofriendly materials to produce construction product and more. Zelij Invent pride it's self being the first brand that offers an eco-friendly construction materials such as pavers that can be used in all the same ways as regular cement ones in garden, sidewalks, roads and parking but are: - x3 times harder - x2 times cheaper to produce - 100% eco-friendly and Recyclable - 22% energy saver - can bear very high weight You cant really discuss Zelij without thinking about its origins. The word Zelij is an Arabic word which means little polished stone and the word has come to encapsulate an entire genre of Islamic art from the 14th century to today. Zelij is one of the main characteristics of Moroccan architecture and at Zelij we wanted to remain true to this heritage. Thats why Zelij is based on cooperation and dialogue with its artisan partners, mainly based in Morocco. Our vision is that of an open and supportive world in which responsible economy is combined with social and environmental progress.
Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development
Nowadays, plastic wastes have become a major global issue, and one that must be addressed in order to solve the worlds resource and energy challenges. Millions of plastic items are improperly disposed of, on a daily basis, creating piles of plastic waste everywhere. This has brought serious damages to local environments around the world in terms of water, air and soil pollution. It blocks drains, pollutes rivers and wreaks havoc on the environment. Just in Morocco produces more than 550,000 tons of plastic a year, and only 12 percent of that is recycled, which translates into wastage worth 1.2 billion USD. As a solution to the growing problem of a gloomy future with all of us being smothered by heaps of plastic, Zelij team, devised a way to reuse plastic waste instead of cement to make eco-friendly tiles, circumventing the energy-intensive process of plastic recycling. Since 2018 we have been able to recycle more than 100 tons of plastic waste and engage more than 57 young in the collection and sorting process. Also we have been able to train 22 local artisans in manufacturing process using our material. We do also allign our work with the Sustainable Development Goals, and till now we have been abale to work on 5 of them, mainly "Climate action", "industry innovation and infrastructure", "Responsible production and consumption" and more.
Sustainability and future plans
Our first addressable market segment in Moroccan flooring products is valued at $50 million. Total Moroccan flooring market valued at around $1 billion. We work on a BtoB model. We make revenue from product sales to distributors and architects plus commission from installation services. Till now 70% of our budget today comes from grants and donation, and 30% from our personal investment. A total of 60000 USD. And by november 2019 we will sustain financially via the profit margin out of sales. Our mission by the end of 2020 is to collect and recycle more than 1 million tons of plastic. To do so we are building a small green community for plastic collection from households, coffees, restaurants and more. Also we want to launch different production plant and workshop to transform those plastic waste to our valuable and sustainable material, to do so we are looking to partner with different partners worldwide and locally to spread our impact faster and scale up our solution worldwide.
Your profile as an entrepreneur
My name is Saif Eddine, I'm 21 years old founder of Zelij Invent and holder of master in international trade. Since 13 years old, I was involved in the entrepreneurship and innovation field. My passion, then led me to create a real invention which allowed me to obtain my first patent of invention at the age of 15 thanks to an intelligent system of weighing the heavy schoolbags of the schoolboys. Then I developed several inventions and I participated in several competitions like Intel Science Competition, a Merck X innovation award... In the past four years I discovered the Sustainable development goals thank to workshops with UNDP and I started introducing companies and startups to the SDG's vision through workshops and courses. Doing this as an environment conscious person aware of the damages facing our planet, It was for me the right time to start acting to address this issue and have a real impact on our community and worldwide. So I build up a team and I started working on the startup Zelij Invent. Then I received many awards and recognition such us the Greenpreneur, best green startup of 2018 from M. Ban Ki Moon in Korea, the award of the Top 5 new construction materials of the future by Lafarge Holcim Foundation in Mexico, also the first prize of the Northpreneur by the British Council and I get to exhibit and meet the UK royal family HH Prince Harry and Megan.