Repurposed plastic waste creates reusable building bricks

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Communities around the world are building affordable public and private structures that also help to reduce pollution. They are doing this by using Ecobricks. Advocates of the brick see their use as a social movement and lifestyle choice. Empty plastic bottles filled with other waste plastics become the strong, durable building material that is an Ecobrick. The bricks are thoroughly tested, and a recommended density per bottle produces the best building results. Additionally, the bricks are reusable, furthering their environmentally friendly credentials. By removing plastic waste from the earth, water and air, the bricks also remove pollution from local food and water.

In order to qualify as an Ecobrick, a filled bottle must adhere to certain requirements. The suggested minimum weight for an Ecobrick is 0.35 times the bottle’s original volume. Two of the most commonly found plastic bottle sizes are 600 millilitre and 1500 millilitre. The Ecobricks team suggests using the smaller sized bottles for seating and indoor furniture and larger bottles for bigger structures and outdoor use. No machine or particular skill set is needed to build an Ecobrick, which makes them a particularly accessible building material. A set of open source guidebooks provide packing and building instructions with suggestions, which are available in a range of languages. People are also encouraged to submit their successful designs for others to use.

Takeaway: The ubiquity of plastic waste encourages creative approaches to its reuse. In Bangladesh, people stay cool during the country’s scorching summers by using recycled plastic bottles made into air conditioning units. A set of recycling machines that are made locally and are fully customizable are built from readily available materials. Blueprints for the machines are free to download. The team behind the machines want communities to set up local production lines and businesses. What other lo-fi solutions could help make an immediate impact on levels of local pollution?


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Spotted by Ben Good, written by Springwise.
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