As I write this blog post, I have just returned from an afternoon litter-picking session with my two children. It is an activity we participate in often. The cycle track outside our home is now free of litter, but, sadly, next week, it will be back again. The reality is that my home town, and most of the country, has a severe plastic pollution problem, and no matter how many times we clean my local area of litter, within a week, it is back again.
Yet, as upsetting as this reality is; there is a solution. And better yet. The solution is something that any person, of any age, can do, to tackle plastic pollution problem hands-on, with minimal fuss or funding required. If enough people get on board, we could eliminate our litter problem completely.
The solution I am referring to, is instead of throwing away our unwanted single-use plastics, we create Ecobricks with them.
An Ecobrick, simply put, is an empty bottle used as a vessel to fill with discarded single-use plastics.
How to make an Ecobrick
• Line the base of an empty (clean and dry) plastic bottle with an easily moulded soft plastic (bread bags work great).
• Using a stick, push the plastic down so it’s compact.
• Store your vessel somewhere you won’t forget to use it, such as a kitchen cupboard, then, whenever you have any single-use plastics, rather than putting them in the bin, ensure they are clean and dry, then cut them into small pieces and add to the bottle, pushing down with a stick throughout the process.
• Repeat the above until the bottle is full to the brim and compact with plastics, ensuring to continue to use the stick to push the plastic down for maximum density.
• When the bottle is completely filled with cut up soft plastic and hard to touch, pop the lid on, leaving the neck empty to allow for expansion over time.
• Create an account with GoBrik, weigh and log it, generating a serial number via the GoBrik app to inscribe on your completed ‘brick’.
• Once complete, you have an ecobrick
The brilliance of these ‘bricks’ is that we can make anything with them. From eco furniture, to eco houses, or eco planters (seen below), the possibilities are endless. Or, if building isn’t for you, find a local ecobrick exchange instead.
I visit schools throughout Essex encouraging students to Ecobrick at home with their household waste, and have a space agreed with my local council, arts gallery and walled gardens to create eco projects with backing from Essex Wildlife Trust, with the end aim to build a sensory garden that everyone can enjoy somewhere within my home town in Essex.
But why stop there?
This is something anyone can do, and together, as a society, we could create endless eco projects to keep litter off our streets, out of our oceans and away from landfill, creating a cleaner, litter free world for all.
For more detailed information please see my recent article on how to tackle plastic pollution, and if you would like for me to speak with your local community group, school or university about Ecobrick projects, please contact me via the website.