“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”
– Robert Swan, Author
We have always recycled but last year I started really focusing on trying to make our home more eco-friendly. My kitchen is now about 80& plastic free and we use predominantly green cleaning products (anyone know if you get eco-friendly dishwasher soap?). I have started a veggie garden and hopefully we will have a worm farm going again in a few weeks.
I am struggling a lot to reduce the amount of plastic packaging we use but it is my focus for the new year. We started filling ecobricks late last year and they are a great way to recycle plastic packaging!
Why should you be building ecobricks?
Ecobricks trap plastic and keep it out of the biosphere. When plastics are littered, burned or dumped they will degrade into poisonous chemicals that will enter the land, water and air and will be absorbed by plants and animals. When plastic is placed in ecobricks it does not degrade and the gases are trapped inside the bottle, if it is correctly sealed.
When you start packing your ecobricks you realise just how much plastic we are using, often unnecessarily. Do you know just how much plastic you are using on a daily basis? If you start building ecobricks you will be shocked by just how much plastic you are using every single day.
Ecobricks are actually better than recycling. When plastic is recycled it ultimately ends up back in the environment, so recycling doesn’t eliminate the problems of plastic, it just prolongs them a bit.
You can read more reasons why you should be building ecobricks here.
Packing ecobricks is easier than you think.
Step 1: Collect 2 liter plastic bottles. You can also use the large 5lt water bottles or any plastic bottle really.
Step 2: Collect all the plastic packaging you use – this includes styrofoam(your mean is packaged in this, your fruit etc), plastic bags, packaging your fruit comes in, chip packets, cookie packets etc., straws (we collect the straws handed out at restaurants and then pop them in our bricks), cellophane, cling wrap, milk boxes.
Step 3: Find a stick to help push the plastic in properly. Your bricks need to be super compact which means you need to constantly be pushing the plastic down as you add it. I have a large wooden spoon that works really well but I have discovered that chopstix also works well.
Step 4: Start stuffing your bottle full of rubbish. I cut up our milk boxes into strips, they fit nicely into the bottles. If you cut them up into smaller pieces they work well as the first lawyer because they get into the little legs of the coke bottle nicely. You will be amazed by just how much you can fit into the ecobrick.
Step 5: Weigh your brick. Ideally your 2lt bottle should weigh 600g or more. If it is under than, keep pushing more plastic in!!
Step 6: Drop the ecobricks off. There are a lot of places you can drop off, I am currently dropping ours off at our local Pick ‘n Pay Hyper.
Avoid the following items:
- Paper and cardboard, they can be safely burnt and recycled.
- Biodegradables, put these in your compost heap rather.
- Metal and glass, these can be recycled and glass can be reused.
If you aren’t building ecobricks, you need to start!