We have had many different experiences with eco bricks ranging from general questions on how to make them, how they get used, what gets put into them; offering to be a drop off point, as well as dismantling a number of bricks as they were clearly under weight, dirty or generally unsuitable to be used for building with. This has prompted us to put together our thoughts, opinions and hopefully useful tips on how to either avoid having the plastic to put into the brick in the first instance or how to successfully create an eco brick.
Firstly, what is an eco brick?
As way of a brief explanation we tell our customers that they are a method of recycling the un-recyclable. But
they are actually so much more. To us they represent and show how difficult it is to dispose of certain plastics. So why should they be difficult to make? If we are constantly offered easy options to dispose of our rubbish we’re unlikely to ever take responsibility for it or question whether we need to purchase it in the first instance. Of course some forms of packaging are completely unavoidable but a lot can be, and it’s these that we should be trying to steer clear of or finding an alternative for. The difficulty of cramming as much plastic into the eco brick, we
would hope, would become more apparent with each piece that is cleaned, dried, cut and then stuffed into the bottle. As the bottle gets fuller it takes longer and gets harder to push the plastic into place, hopefully giving the creator of the brick, thinking time.
Don’t get us wrong, eco bricks are a fantastic way to reuse un recyclable plastic but we would argue that not having the plastic to dispose of in the first place would be even better. Perhaps using the bakers for bread instead
of buying it from the supermarket in a bag, the same goes for fruit. What about helping out the local fruit and veg stalls by buying their produce, keeping them in business alongside purchasing plastic free.
We’re even lucky enough to have companies that can deliver to our door. Of course it would be helpful if the bigger companies took some responsibility for the plastic that is too often seen in supermarkets; shrink wrapping and offering a cheaper price on 4 or more cans beans or fizzy drink makes it financially difficult to resist buying more than you actually need. Why can’t we buy these items loose but for the same discount price?
So, how do you create an eco brick? Ideally starting with a smaller bottle will probably make your eco brick venture a more successful one. The plastic needs to be clean, dry and preferably cut into smaller pieces making it easier to push as much as possible into the bottle. The final product needs to be a specific weight; the suggested minimum
weight for a 1500ml bottle is at least 500g and a 600ml bottle 200g (0.33g/ml). They need to be weighed and then logged before being dropped off. www.ecobricks.org will help you locate any potential drop off points, either by providing details of a central collection point where the bricks are collected and then distributed to sites that require them, or by providing location information for projects that are asking for bricks to be made specifically for them.
So there you have it,
Hopefully your eco brick will take many months to create showing how successful you’ve been in reducing un recyclable plastic entering your house but equally, if you’ve managed to create a brick that can be used in the production of a wall, bench or other such structure that will be used for many generations, well done as you’ve
helped to keep a bottles worth of non biodegradable plastic out of landfill.
Good luck and happy bricking…..