Building For the Future

November 06, 2019

Most reading this blog have some degree of concern for the environment and, we hope, act on that concern. In our daily lives we take steps toward reducing our waste – we buy loose rather than packaged vegetables, we recycle everything we can and we wouldn’t even dare dream of clingwrap. At the end of the day, however, it is impossible to completely rid ourselves of non-recyclable packaging. The world is simply not there yet. It is with a heavy heart that we continue to consume, and throw away, products packaged in non-recyclables. Luckily, it is does not have to be the end for this waste. Through eco-bricking even our non-recyclables can be re-used rather than ending up in landfill.

An eco-brick is an empty plastic bottle that has been filled with non-recyclables, particularly soft plastic, until the bottle becomes a strong and durable building block. Once completed, eco bricks can then be used as building materials to create insulative structures and even colourful furniture.

Eco-bricking kills a number of birds with one stone – while, in reality, saving even more birds. The eco-brick acts as an environmentally-friendly way to dispose of waste that is neither recyclable nor biodegradable thereby taking it out of the environment and landfills. At the same time, it substitutes for the bricks and off-sets the massive environmental impact of the brick-making process. Eco-bricking is often used for community building. There are incredible organisations such as Waste-ED who mobilise the community to clean-up their streets, create eco-bricks, and build a structure for the good of the community. Finally, eco-bricking ensures people face up to the hard reality of how much we consume, and how much we throw away. It is astounding to see how much waste a single person accumulates over the course of a month. As awareness spreads, individual consumption should go down and reduce overall waste produced.

Photocred: Waste-ED

How to make an eco-brick:

  1. Find an empty, dry and clean plastic bottle
  2. Make sure all non-recyclable materials going into the eco-brick are clean and dry
  3. Twist the waste before inserting it into the bottle. This makes it far easier to get inside.
  4. Push the twisted waste into the bottle and compress with a stick
  5. Fill the bottle until absolutely no more waste can fit in and seal the bottle with its cap
  6. Take the eco-brick to a local drop-off point. Not sure where your closest drop-off point is? A quick google search will reveal a bunch of awesome organisations.

Photocred: Waste-ED

Eco-bricking is not the answer to the ever-growing waste problem that we face. It is an interim solution while the world figures out how to reduce outputs significantly. It is an opportunity for individuals to become more conscious of what they consume, and what they throw away. It is an opportunity for communities to forge stronger bonds while reducing waste and building much needed infrastructure. It is the temporary answer that can be done on a granular level which, collectively, will make a huge difference.

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