I hate plastic. I really do. I’m trying my best to use as little as possible but the stuff is unavoidable. As a very enthusiastic recycler, I started to realise just how much plastic can’t be recycled. Seeing the volume of plastic that was going into my black bin and heading for landfill made my stomach turn. Around the end of October last year I saw a post on Facebook about what to do with your non-recyclable plastics. It talked about the ecobrick. I loved the idea and I’ve been making them ever since.
An ecobrick is a plastic bottle packed with non-recyclable plastic, which can be used to build a variety of things.
They’re such an amazing way to keep plastic out of the natural environment. And you’d be surprised how much plastic one bottle can hold.
The steps are pretty simple and can be incorporated into your daily life.
- Choose your bottle and stick
- Sort the plastic
- Make sure it’s clean and dry
- Add a bottom colour
- Pack tightly
- Weigh it
As ecobricks can be used for building, it’s helpful to use the same sized and shaped bottle for each. I personally fill a 1.5L bottle with few curves as it makes it easier to pack. To compact your plastic you’ll need a stick. Wooden spoon handles are useful, or even better, a long piece of dowel with a rounded end (my weapon of choice).
Lining the bottom of each ecobrick with one colour is ideal when planning to donate them to community projects.
You should only fill your ecobrick with non-recyclable plastic and keep anything biodegradable out. Every piece needs to be clean, especially free from food debris, and dry. For a weeks worth of plastic, it usually takes me an hour or so to wash it all.
All the plastic should be compacted as tightly as possible both around the edges and in the middle. The smaller the pieces, the easier it is. Mixing both hard and soft plastic is good way to increase it’s density.
Reaching the right density is important and ensures the ecobrick is good enough quality to be used. The minimum weight can be calculated by: bottle volume in ml multiplied by 0.33.
Plastic pollution is an enormous problem. Ecobricking is a great way to take responsibility of our own waste. Each ecobrick can be logged on GoBrik, which also has information on your nearest drop-off points. Across the world they’ve been used for building furniture, art projects and outdoor green spaces – a much better use for plastic rather than leaving it to choke our oceans and wildlife.