Only 9% of the one million plastic bottles used every minute are recycled. This means a whopping 2,402,400,000 bottles are added to our physical environment every day.
That’s a lot of plastic.
But is it possible to make constructive use of all the plastic waste with which our earth is being clogged?
Two birds, one stone: Reusing bottles to make Ecobricks
Ecobricks are PET bottles that have been cleaned and filled with more clean plastic waste like plastic bags, Styrofoam, wires and even small batteries to weigh them down and make them sturdier.
When these bottles are used to make Ecobricks, society yields a double benefit: We can house the disadvantaged, and less plastic will go into landfills and oceans.
How are Ecobricks used?
The packed bottles are made into walls using clay, cement, grass or other materials to stick them together. The Ecobricks can then be used to construct houses, furniture, gardens and parks.
The structures are strong and virtually unbreakable since plastic takes such a long time to degrade. Ecobricking has been successfully used in the Philippines, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Guatemala, Panama, Indonesia, Africa and even America.
What are the downsides of using Ecobricks?
Ecobricks are a cheap, green way to construct durable, energy efficient and bioclimatic houses. Yet the Ecobricking trend is not without significant disadvantages.
Some of the cons of using Ecobricks include:
- They may degrade thanks to UV rays of the sun
- If overheated, they will release a toxic gas
- They may be difficult to recycle when used with concrete
- They can release poisonous gases if they catch fire
So, while Ecobricks are gaining popularity in third-world countries with housing crises, they are certainly not the silver bullet first-world plastic-waste-haters are searching for.