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How to make an ecobrick

We are excellent recyclers in our house! We separate plastic bottles and cans, glass, paper and also have a compost heap! We have tried to teach our kids that everything can be used again! So when I found out about ecobricks, I was very excited that our plastic could be used for good!

If you google “What is an ecobrick,” you will see an Ecobrick is a reusable building block created by packing clean and dry used plastic.

Ecobricks enable us to take personal responsibility for our plastic.

What does this mean? The ecobricks are used to build houses, tables and chairs, and is also used to create garden space. The plastic bottles become the bricks. This means how you make your brick is very important, as if it does not meet certain requirements, it can’t be used.

  1. The bottle cannot have a crack in it
  2. No Biodegradables
  3. No food items
  4. Nothing sharp like stones or glass

What do you need to make an ecobrick?

  • A clean plastic bottle – you can use any, we always use a 2L bottle
  • You will also need a long dowel stick or spoon to push the plastic down
  • Kitchen scale

What can you put inside your bottle?

  • Plastic bags
  • Plastic packaging
  • Styrofoam
  • Cellophane
  • Straws

Make sure there is no food or cardboard on the plastic.

We have tried various ways to fill the brick (you have to reach a certain weight) and we found that it is best to cut up your plastic – not exactly shredded, but cut like this:

How to make the brick:

Add the plastic to the bottle.

The first piece of plastic you put in the bottle will give it a bottom colour for building.

Choose a soft plastic with a solid color, then push it down to the bottom of your ecobrick. Pack it in with your stick to fill the first 1-2cms of the bottle (you might want to use a few plastics of the same color).  The base must be packed really tightly, so the cut up plastic works very well for the bottom.

Add as much as you can. Once you have added in as much as you think, take a stick and push down to compress the plastic to make more room. Keep adding plastic, keep compressing and twisting the plastic in.

Make sure that you do not pierce the plastic bottle with your spoon when you are pushing the plastic in. You will not be able to hand the brick in!

How do you know when you are done?

Ecobricks have different minimum weights. This is because they need to be solid as they are doing the work of a brick. Once you are done, you should be able to stand on them! There should be no space in the bottle.

A 2l bottle should weigh 400-500g

Where do I take my bottles?

The following Pick n Pay Hyper Markets across SA are drop off points:

  • Rosebank Mall
  • Cresta Mall
  • Mulbarton
  • Hatfied
  • Nicol
  • Tygervalley
  • Constantia

The EWT Head Office is also a drop off: Building K2, Pinelands Office Park, Ardeer Road, Modderfontein

https://www.facebook.com/EcoBrickExchange/ Official SA Eco Brick page- if you are not sure where to drop your brick off, you can get hold of them.

https://www.facebook.com/advaYSD/ example of a Youth Development skills Organisation that uses the bricks.

https://ecobrickssa.org

What I love is that we are not only helping to build houses etc but everyone in our house gets involved! No one is left out; we all collect plastic and get involved in cutting and stuffing. It is very rewarding.

Contributed by Charmaine Papazian of Clamber Club Babies – Craighall Park
Cell: 073 165 4759
Email: craighallbabies@clamberclub.com 
Website: www.clamberclub.com

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