Ecobricks: the solution we’ve all been waiting for or a distraction from what really matters?
Recently while researching ways to reduce plastic use, I came across Ecobricks. Ecobricks are plastic bottles filled with the types of plastic waste we can’t recycle. They can be used to build all sorts of things, and there are designs all over the web.
How do you make an Ecobrick?
The process is simple enough – you get a clean, dry plastic bottle and you fill it with clean, dry soft plastics, squishing down with a stick as you go. They need to be pretty dense: the website suggests at least 0.3g per millilitre the bottle holds. The result is a bottle strong enough that can now be used as a brick!
Tip: cut the plastic into small pieces using a pair of shredding scissors. That will stop any air bubbles forming as you put the plastic in. Air bubbles will stop you from reaching the needed density!
How do you build with an Ecobrick?
The Ecobrick website shows you many different ways to build with Ecobricks, but the most common seem to be using their building modules or with cob mortar. I would love to build with cob mortar, it looks like a fun way to get your hands dirty!
What can you build with an Ecobrick?
You can build almost anything: from simple stools or tables to garden benches, raised beds and even shelters and houses! The simplest projects seem to be stools, and you need 12 ecobricks for that. That adds up to a lot of plastic!
Sounds great so far! What’s the problem?
While Ecobricks seem like a great way to put plastic to good use, they take a lot of plastic to fill and I can’t help but wonder if they might encourage people to use more plastic than they really should. The website encourages getting other people to help fill your Ecobricks, which is great: but I can’t help but think there has to be another way.
My verdict? Ecobricks are a temporary solution, but a good one.
Making Ecobricks puts a dam in the river of the plastic scourge, but ultimately we need to stop the tide. Reduce your plastic usage as much as you can, and put the plastics you can’t avoid into an Ecobrick. However, don’t use this as an excuse to get complacent: keep refusing, keep reducing. Our planet will thank you for that!
Are you going to try making Ecobricks? Let me know in the comments!