Brick by brick
We spoke to Hollie Stone about her decision to reduce plastic waste and to do her bit to help save our planet one bottle at a time.
This year in October my boyfriend and I went to Athens to celebrate my birthday. We had an amazing time its such a beautiful city but we quickly noticed the contrast between tourists and the amount of poverty and people in need. As a young mother of two, I found it especially hard seeing new mothers begging with newborns in their arms and young children asking for money in restaurants late at night. In amongst all this, we also noticed the homeless collecting plastic bottles and rummaging through skips for recyclable plastic. We soon found out that Greece have an amazing system in place where you can exchange plastic for money. Something I hope the UK will emulate in the future.
The next week, back at home I read about Ecobricks, and I knew I wanted to help. An Ecobrick is a plastic bottle packed to a set density with used, clean and dry plastic to achieve a building block that can be used over and over again. Ecobricks can also be packed with other non-biological un-recyclables that, uncontained, are toxic to the environment (i.e. styrofoam, wires, small batteries, etc.). Ecobricks are used to make modular furniture, garden spaces, walls and even full-scale buildings.
Ecobricks are designed to leverage the longevity and durability of plastic, to create an indefinitely reusable building block. They are made by cleaning, drying and then packing plastic into a drinking bottle. This enables plastic to be kept out of the environment, and out of the ineffective industrial recycling system. Once packed solid (with a minimum density of 0.33g/ml) ecobricks can be used to build green spaces for our community, furniture for our homes, and many other practical applications.
Ecobricks enable us to take personal responsibility for our plastic
It was simple to get involved. I registered at both www.gobrik.ecobricks.org and www.gobrik.com with no sign up charge and started collecting non-recyclable plastic at home. Within a week we saw a dramatic change in the amount of waste going into our main wheely bin.
Since starting less than a month ago we have halved the amount of waste going into the bin just by making Ecobricks.
There is a very helpful Facebook page called Ecobricks UK which has a list of local people collecting the bricks for projects. Or you can look online for inspiration to build your own.
My top tips are:
The plastic must be washed and dried.
Depending on the bottle size the plastic must weigh a certain amount.
The rule of thumb is devide the bottle size by 3 and that is your minimum weight for your eco brick eg. 1,000ml bottle would be 330g+
Look online and on social media for tips and tricks and join your local community!
I have made two Ecobricks this month, both registered and labelled with serial numbers and ready to be collected. At the moment I have decided to give mine to a local lady who I found through Facebook but the dream would be to get the local schools involved and create a community project. Together we can make a real difference, one bottle at a time.