Double Duty Win – Recycling and Rebuilding
Meet Nev Hyman – the award-winning, yet unassuming Gold Coast businessman who takes the waste we throw away and turns it into functioning, affordable and off-the-grid shelter for those who need it most.
Through his NevHouse sustainable social enterprise, Nev uses recycled plastic and other eco-friendly materials to create low cost homes, schools and medical clinics. These can be used for natural disaster and war-torn situations as well as under-developed nations and more recently in indigenous Australian communities. Employing a simple ‘reuse, recycle, construct’ method, Nev assembles homes and communities in a matter of days, compared to the months required for a conventional ‘bricks and mortar’ approach.
We sat down with Nev to chat about his mission to deliver sustainable living around the globe, and what he loves about living in Robina.
Nev, tell us about your entrepreneurship journey.
I have been manufacturing surfboards on the Gold Coast for 40 years and after being around the ocean for my entire life, I decided in 2004 to invest in a plastics recycling company, Julien Environmental Technology (JET). The idea of manufacturing products from recycled plastic was introduced to me while playing golf at the Glades Golf Course. A fellow golfer opened my eyes to the possibility of producing standard products such as floor boards and chipping pallets from recyclable materials. I knew that if we could make everyday materials such as these, we could construct a home.
In 2009 I took ownership of JET and whilst on a surfing trip to Bali shortly after, I met a friend who had access to the floor plans of a house the Indonesian Government was producing for communities on the island of Lombok.
I knew that I could build houses from recycled materials and plastics that would be better than those the government was supplying, so I engaged architect Ken McBryde and global engineering firm Arup. That was the beginning of NevHouse.
Why do you believe the NevHouse initiative is so important?
There is a global demand for housing – from affordable housing in both developing and developed nations through to post-disaster relief and refugee requirements. The great thing about NevHouse is that we can provide extremely fast assistance as we can have a structure assembled in just two days.
The structures are permanent, culturally correct to wherever we build them and need very limited maintenance – if need be they can even be removed in two days.
Each house requires two to three tonnes of plastic waste and aluminium and with the need for one million homes in Indonesia alone, we will not only solve a housing crisis but a waste crisis too.
What do you hope to achieve through NevHouse into the future?
NevHouse has established a fund in Luxembourg, the Nev Earth Fund, which is a financial vehicle that encourages foundations, superannuation funds and high net worth individuals to invest in the future of the environment and humanitarian causes.
Nev Earth Fund is a for profit fund, meaning shareholders will see a return on their investment while doing something positive for the earth – also known as philanthrocapitalism.
What do you love about living in Robina?
I originally lived at Palm Beach and as a surfer, it was the best lifestyle I could have had. However, after going through a divorce, I purchased two properties at the Glades Golf Course as my son and I were mad golfers.
It’s the best decision I have ever made – I look out over the 18th green, walk along the boardwalk in the mornings and head to the clubhouse to have meetings with my clients. It’s a natural wetland so there is an incredible amount of bird life, I’m very immersed in nature.
The location is amazing – it takes me 10 minutes to get to the beach for a surf but also enjoy direct access to the train station, stadium and the shops. My wife Debbie and I are really settled here in Robina.
“In all of my global travels, I have never been more impressed with a place to live – it literally blows me away.”
Congratulation on your Pitch @ Palace progression!
The insideR team was lucky enough to be at Bond University to watch Nev’s inspiring pitch to Prince Andrew the Duke of York recently.
Along with seven other Gold Coast entrepreneurs, NevHouse was selected to progress to the next round of Pitch@Palace in Sydney. Despite some tough competition from a diverse range of new businesses, Nev, together with local Bond student Alisha Geary, was one of just three Australian winners chosen to pitch at St James’s Palace in London next month. Nev, we wish both you and Alisha all the best on this exciting mission, representing Australia (and of course Robina) on the global business stage!
Find out More
Read more about Pitch @ Palace in last month’s insideR here.
Visit the NevHouse website to find out more about the ways in which this Gold Coast changemaker is making our world a better place through sustainable social housing.