Natural Building, Permaculture, Social Technologies, Sustainable Living

What to do with your soft plastics?

Stop for a moment and imagine if the rubbish you create was banned from going to the landfill! This may be the future as more and more countries are refusing to take on our rubbish. The average Australian sends more than one ton of waste to the landfill each year. An Aussie family produces enough rubbish to fill a three-bedroom house, producing about 2.25 kg of waste each per day. We can now say that this is getting out of control.

This makes us one of the highest producers of waste per head of population in the world. Something needs to be done. Time to take it personally.

Refuse & Choose Reusable

plastic free kit
My Plastic Free Uni Kit

Cutting down on your rubbish usually starts in the supermarket aisle. When you purchase and choose products with less packaging. The more packaging you go home with, the more rubbish you produce. Choose natural fresh products wherever possible.

Stop buying water in plastic bottles. Take your own refillable plastic bottle and go back to the tap. Put a filter onto your tap to filter out the nasties. In the long run, it’s more cost efficient, healthy and environmentally friendly.

Say no to plastic bags. There will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050 if we don’t change this incredibly bag habit. Leave a reusable shopping bag in your car to make life easier.

Place a “No Junk Mail” sticker on your letterbox. Junk mail destroys 100 million trees and creates 50 million tons of greenhouse gases per year. Most of it isn’t even opened and it goes straight to a landfill.

Take your reusable tea/coffee cup instead of using disposable cups. It is estimated Australians use 1 billion disposable coffee cups each year.

Skip the straw. Australians use about 10 million straws every day. They end up in the ocean and waterways. Buy reusable metal or bamboo straws.

The “but I recycle” response is not good enough anymore. Companies/councils are not recycling. If you need more information on how to do this, check out the article on ‘The 10 R’s of Sustainable Living‘.

How to Make an Eco Brick

Eco bricks enable us to take personal responsibility of our throw away plastics. Curiously enough, the creation of the eco brick is a technique that popped up organically around the world. Many people felt that it was needed.

What is an eco brick?

ecobrick
Eco Bricks

An Eco brick is a reusable building block created by packing clean and dry used plastic into a plastic bottle to a set density.   The eco bricks are then used in natural building or they are thrown away as a condensed block in landfill.

  • Save all non-recyclable like soft plastic, plastic tags, packaging stickers, food packets.
  • Clean and dry a plastic bottle. Make a small pin prick at the base of the bottle. This is important as if any of the plastic is slightly dirty it may cause anaerobic gases from decomposing materials. 
  • Use wooden spoon or stick to press waste into the bottle.
  • Keep compressing with the stick until the bottle is completely full.

Permaculture Hint

If you are using the eco bricks for building, try to find similar sized bottles. Fill the top  of the bottle with a little sand and then tighten the bottle top. You should have a solid mass and be able to stand on top of the eco brick.

When you have lots of eco bricks you can start building. At Ecocentro IPEC we use the eco bricks to make garden sofas, stools and sheds.

Eco brick creations at Ecocentro IPEC and Seriema Eco Art – Brazil

Need more info! Watch the excellent series called ‘ABC War on Waste‘.

There is also an Action toolkit available for people that want to step it up.

Note: The “International Journal of Recent Trends in Engineering and Research” warns that if the building burns it will melt the plastic bottles which will releases a compound gas which is very harmful to the health and environment.

Enjoy the article? Like, share and spread the word! Show me your eco bricks #organicsloveandco and I will share your success story.

ecobricks-2.png

 

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