With single-use plastics being a big topic at the moment, I have been receiving a lot of interest on Twitter, regarding my eco-bricks. It’s a brilliant way to make use of our single-use plastics, particularly when it seems difficult to cut down on plastic. I hope you consider ecobricking in future once you see how easy it is!
The Frugal Frenchie
What are ecobricks?
Ecobricks are essentially bricks made by stuffing and squashing unrecyclable/single-use plastics. These can be used for local community projects or more global projects; I’ll mention that a bit later on.
Ecobricks have to be done in a particular way. By the end, when they’re complete, you will see how hard and solid they are. There should be no spaces and you should be able to place all your weight on them and them not budge. In order to do so, the ecobrick website, has given you specific weights required for different sized bottles, e.g. 1.5l bottle requires a minimum of 500g of plastic.
For example, mine was a 1.5 ml and weighed 501g- you can see how compact it is.
Benefits of ecobricking
There are numerous benefits
- It makes you aware of how much plastic you consume, as well as ecological awareness
- It reduces how much waste goes into your bins (particularly good for bigger families like mine)
- It traps plastic out of the biosphere
- It keeps plastic out of industrial recycling
- Are a step forward to going zero-waste
- Benefits community projects or global projects
- Anyone can participate, it’s free and easy
What can you do with them?
Following this link, you can see where you can drop off your ecobricks. If there is nowhere local to you, why not suggest a local product or see if you could make use of them: perhaps in your garden as a flower pot or barrier, or make it into a fun papermache project?
Some examples of international projects using ecobricks include building mud houses, water wells. Some people also got creative and used ecobricks to create furniture or workout aids. There are endless options!
How do you make ecobricks?
I first found out about ecobricks through the primary school that I volunteer at. We did it on a mass scale, collecting all the rubbish from the kids’ lunches and plastic brought from home. The children clearly enjoyed cutting the plastic into tiny tiny pieces, but they don’t need to be this small. It’s also worth noting that there is no correct way to cut the plastic. Sometimes, I’ll cut bigger plastics, such as pasta packets, into smaller strips then stack them and cut smaller pieces. Alternatively, you can cut things into half/quarters or twist thing bits together and cut them over the lid so they drop inside the bottle straight away.
Here are the basic steps
- Use a clean, dry bottle. On my second ecobrick, I accidentally didn’t leave the bottom of the bottle to dry and it starting going mouldy so I had to bin it.
- Collect your plastic to fill. Top tip: remember to make sure there is no food left on the packaging or anything that could go mouldy: it should be clean and not odorous. A lot of the ecobricks children brought in from home did not work, as they would fill full-sized plastic pieces or bags inside so that afterwards there was too much air and it was difficult to squash. Cut any large plastics down and you’ll be amazed at how much you can fit inside.
- Press the plastic down as you go. You’ll gradually notice how layers beginning forming and how it’ll keep pushing down. The teacher used a knife sharpening tool, but at school, we used a bamboo stick!
- When you think you’ve filled your bottle enough, weigh it to double-check. Divide the volume of your bottle by three to find your target weight.
- Afterwards, when it’s finished, you can register you ecobrick and get a number to be counted as official!
If you’re interested to learn more, there is a free guide available for you. Do let me know your thoughts below!
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