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Ecobrick: Building Block from Waste Plastic Bottles

Hyundai Motorstudio Senayan Park 2022.08.01
Ecobrick: Building Block from Waste Plastic Bottles

Of all the solutions to environmental problems, ecobricks are now becoming more popular because they are easier to make and use. But what is ecobrick?

To get a full picture, let's imagine the bricks used as the wall material for the house. It is red in color, and is often combined with doors and windows. That is the general description of ecobrick, as a substitute for traditional bricks.

The functions offered by ecobricks are similar from conventional bricks, but are more aesthetic when it used and are considered as the best way to deal with plastic waste.

What Is Ecobrick?

The general premise of ecobrick is simple: collect all non-recyclable materials and wrap them in plastic bottles. In simple terms, ecobricks are polyethylene (PET) plastic bottles filled with various unused materials that have been cleaned and then used like traditional bricks.

The material can be food packaging or other products that have no value anymore. Not only plastic, used cloth or other objects can be used as well. That's why, ecobrick can be called eco-friendly bricks because of their benefits to reduce plastic waste.

The bottles, which are already harder and solid because they are filled with various plastic wastes, are then stacked like conventional bricks to build a wall. Due to the non-degradable nature of plastics, ecobricks offer greater durability and can be integrated into short-term or long-term modern buildings.

Ecobricks not only contribute to protecting the environment from plastic waste, but also protect the environment from absorbing the toxic released from plastic waste. This is important, considering that only 9% of plastic waste is recycled into new plastic. The rest just ends up being trash.

Ecobricks And Their Applications

Ecobricks are among the most innovative tricks to reduce the amount of plastic waste from reaching landfills. Especially for areas that are scarce from building materials, ecobrick can be a creative solution.

Although criticism still accompanies ecobricks as a building material, this does not reduce its popularity. It is difficult to find the best solution to overcome the plastic because many products are made of plastic, and ecobrick could be the best solution at this time.

Ecobricks have gained momentum in recent years, especially since plastic waste has become a global issue. Ecobrick has been popular to make buildings, especially in developing countries, because of its availability.

Like conventional bricks, ecobricks can be used for the same purposes in supporting wall structures. One positive thing about ecobricks is they can act as an insulator because they are made of compressed plastic.

Interestingly, ecobricks can be recycled, in case the walls are torn down and renovated. Unlike conventional bricks, which can be used once.

Ecobrick Benefits

There are a number of positive aspects of ecobricks as part of building structures. BBC says that 60% of recycled plastic is sent to a number of countries in Asia. What happened then, plastic waste was scattered on the beach because many countries do not have adequate infrastructure to recycle plastic.

Although not specifically mentioned, there are at least eight countries in Asia that are responsible for 63% of plastic waste floating in the ocean. Ecobricks are part of a solution to protect the environment that allows anyone to enjoy clean rivers and beaches, but also provides building materials.

Some non-profit organizations even provide incentives for individuals who want to collect unused plastic waste to make ecobricks. This is a good step in reducing plastic waste.

Everything related to plastic is indeed negative, but ecobrick makes plastic have a value of benefit. Making building blocks is a smart idea because plastic does not decompose easily. Plastic can even be reused for decades to come.

How To Make Ecobricks?

Because ecobricks are simple craft products, anyone can make it without any hassle. It starts by collecting, cleaning, and drying any plastic waste. These include plastic bags, product packaging, wrappers, Styrofoam, and used cloth.

Because ecobrick must be tightly wrapped, more plastic is usually required than expected. So, the collecting process may take longer. As an important material part, bottles are needed and should be available in the same size and type.

The process begins by putting plastic waste into a bottle and then pressing it until it is solid. In order to beautify the appearance, try playing with the color choices. The color will offer a unique pattern of ecobrick when they are installed.

After the ecobricks are finished, label them with the project name, weight, and date to distinguish them from each other. Keep them in a horizontal position until there are enough numbers to start the project.

Though it is considered a positive solution for plastic waste, doubts remain. Ecobricks are non-organic materials when exposed to hot sun and release the toxic chemical.

Although the process of making ecobrick can be a fun weekend activity while reducing the plastic waste, ecobricks are not yet considered as a brick replacement for building materials. This is something to watch out for.