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 by Isabel M.

Have you made an Ecobrick?

"An Ecobrick is a reusable building block created by packing clean and dry used plastic into a plastic bottle to a set density.” 
-- ecobricks.org

There are projects all over the world, possibly local to you, using Ecobricks for building projects.

Ecobricks stop non-recyclable plastic waste from ending up in landfill or as litter and gives these types of plastic a reuse purpose.

Recently I made 3 Ecobricks with my Guide unit. We used our non-recyclable plastic waste and some donated water bottles. Over 95% of the plastic waste collected was from food packaging. 

Are Ecobricks a good solution?

This was a great educational activity and I can understand why whole communities have embraced Ecobricks to both raise awareness of the issues of plastic waste management and as a building material.

Collecting the plastic and making the Ecobricks enabled me to better understand plastic waste, where it comes from and provide the motivation to reduce it. But, for me, Ecobricks are not the solution to our plastic waste problem.

There's no getting away from the fact that creating Ecobricks is very time consuming; all the washing, drying, cutting, packing and weighing.

But the main issue is that the plastic waste doesn't go away because we put it in an Ecobrick. Yes, it is contained and reused but plastic is toxic, will eventually degrade and is highly flammable which is why Ecobricks can't be used for building houses in the UK. No Ecobrick will be used indefinitely meaning that, while we've prevented plastic escaping into the environment for now, one day someone is going to have to deal with the plastic waste we have very carefully packed into each brick.

The only real solution is to not buy any more plastic packaging and there lies the challenge. Ultimately we need manufacturers and retailers to remove unnecessary plastic and find more bio-material packaging solutions, but in the meantime shopping with a bit more care is the most practical option.


More information about Ecobricks...

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