Updated: Dec 29, 2018
Plastic made into stylish stone paving stones and tiles.
A simple name and a complex mission, Zelij, which is Arabic for ‘little-polished stone’ is a Casablanca-based startup focusing on eliminating plastic waste, producing - and installing - fashionable floor tiles.
Zelij’s eco-friendly stones and tiles are made from plastic waste (80 percent) and other additives (the remaining 20 percent). The concept grew popular as it relies on less energy and water for production, less overall cost, along with better insulation and durability advantages.
Founders Saif Eddine Laalej and Houda Mirouche are two students from National School of Management Tangier. They told Startup.info that the idea was to combine the hardness and durability of plastic with using waste to create sustainable products. Laalej and Mirouche say that their tiles are four times cheaper than other alternative products on the market. Their profit margin heavily relies on their sales and installation of covering products.
With plastic as their foundation, Zelij team works on producing different colours and styles of floor pavings and tiles that correspond with consumers’ desires and interior design trends. “Zelij is one of the main characteristics of Moroccan architecture and I wanted to remain true to this heritage,” Laalej told The Switchers.
Goals and Milestones
The team’s vision has not been paralleled after their launching. They’ve only grown more fonder of their goal. And now more than ever, the founders believe the market needs more production of sustainable floor tiles. Zelij wants to reduce the plastic waste in Morocco by 3000 tons yearly.
Finally, Zelij is targeted to invest part of the generated surpluses in its Walk Green programme, an initiative that aims to provide more jobs for unemployed locals.
Reviving a Tradition, Ecologically
The team is immensely proud to become Morocco’s first brand for ecological stone pavings and tiles. A great milestone that can kickstart a resourceful business; all while serving a good cause. Zelij and mosaic tiles, in general, are among the key components of Moroccan art and architecture.
Traditionally, they are handmade, painted and cut using regional organic clay and polishes. This century-old tradition was started in Fez, Morocco. The beauty of Zelij is that they are unbound by specific styles. Thankfully, they emphasize geometrical attributes and stunning North African color palettes.