Our world is overrun with plastic of all kinds, and it is difficult to completely avoid collecting plastic nowadays if you consume any kind of goods. The danger with plastic is that it doesn’t biodegrade, meaning it will hang around polluting our environment for a very long time.
It can often feel as though one person’s actions will have little effect on the state of the world, but with the amount of plastic, we are all individually responsible for, doing something to counter this will actually be very constructive.
Also read: A rescued sea turtle pooped “pure” plastic for a week
So, what can you actually do?
You can make Ecobricks. Ecobricks are plastic bottles stuffed with all our single-use and non-recyclable plastics. The ‘bricks’ are then used in the construction of various objects, including structures and furniture.
How to make an Ecobrick:
1. Find a clean plastic bottle
The size of the bottle needed depends on the project, but Waste-ED, the South African organisation that assists individuals in making Ecobricks, accepts and uses all shapes and sizes.
The estimated weight for a 2l bottle is 500g, but this varies depending on the materials inside the bottle. The most important thing is that the bottle is as hard as possible.
2. Find a stick
With the purpose of packing your plastics tightly into a bottle, bamboo and wood make the best sticks.
Also read: EcoBrick bench unveiled at Noordhoek Beach
3. Separate your non-recyclables
Typically, glass, metal, paper and cardboard are recyclable in our country, and plastics are less likely to be recyclable. The most important and common plastics that go into an Ecobrick are single-use plastics.
Ecobricks need to be made with clean and dry plastic, as dirt and moisture encourage microbiological growth.
4. Stuff clean, dry non-recyclables into the bottle
Cut up large plastics into smaller pieces, and fill the bottle up halfway loosely with some of your plastics. Then, use your stick to push down the plastics until they are tightly compacted. Add more loose plastics, and continue doing this until your bottle is full.
What happens with the Ecobricks?
Once you have completed your Ecobrick, you can drop it off at one of Cape Town’s drop-off points.
1. Nude Foods, CBD
- Address: 5 Constitution Street, Zonnebloem
2. Holee Cow
- Address: Unit A2, 8 Honeywell Road, Retreat
3. Kommetjie Surf Shop
- Address: 1 Erica Road, Kommetjie
4. Nude Foods, Newlands
- Address: Shop 2, Paul House, Wilkinson Street
5. Gram Plastic Free Grocer
- Address: Shop 12B, The Trading Post, 1 Myburgh Street, Somerset West
6. Barker Motorcycle Systems
- Address: Unit 4, New Tech Park, 1 Lilie Street, Durbanville
From the drop-off point, the ‘bricks’ move along to the next step in the process: building.
Recently, Waste-ED – the organisation that identifies problematic systems and comes up with zero waste alternatives – has discovered the use of embedding Ecobricks in clay structures.
Read more about this process here.
Woolies drops single-use plastic shopping bags at all of its food stores
Picture: Daily Maverick / David Harrison