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EcoBricking Workshop

Pru Brooker

Posted on March 19 2019

EcoBricking Workshop
EcoBricking Workshop - Monday 18th March 2019
What a way to kick off having workshops at our new unit... A sell out event, a packed out meeting room (luckily we had enough chairs!) and a great speaker: Lucie Mann, telling a keen audience all about EcoBricking.
Our EcoBricking Workshop was launched off the back of a growing trend of people putting little bits of non recyclable plastic into bottles. We first heard of EcoBricking last summer when Kath met Francis from BrickingItBristol  at Shambala Festival last year, since then its "gone viral" with people trying it out all over the world.
...So what's the crack? Just putting bits of plastic in a bottle right?
WRONG! Well, OK - it is that too but it's so much more than that. We wanted to find out from Lucie why it's so important that people make EcoBricks, and clearly so did lots of other people. 
The evening started off with Lucie giving a talk on plastics, where they come from, what they're made of, what natural resources are damaged as a result of the plastics industry, and why recycling isn't always the answer. It was really thought provoking, and although i've seen pictures of a dead albatross full of plastic before, it hits home every time that we're just not doing enough to stop our insane appetite for plastic. 
So, why make eco-bricks? My biggest take away from the talk was that EcoBricks are not the solution - putting plastic into a bottle is not making the plastic go away. Yes we can use the "bricks" as a building material or as a stool or chair but ultimately the reason (I think) we should EcoBrick is just to take stock of exactly how much plastic we're using each day.
Then hopefully, with that comes a realisation and responsibility to cut down and hopefully get to a point where there is no more plastic to put into your brick.
In our homes we're constantly buying, using and chucking plastic away, we've got so used to it being around (and its so inoffensive in its appearance - lightweight, often see through) that we barely notice it (what's 1 salad bag that I can scrunch up into my hand?).
But make a conscious effort to put together all your plastic that you would normally put in your kitchen, bedroom and bathroom bin and you'll see it build up. And just think, that's just 1 person - not even including all the plastic from work. That times 7 billion is just mind blowing. 
So - how to make EcoBricks.
Start with a plastic bottle - seems obvious but listen...
  • It needs to be clean and dry - place over a radiator if you've just rinsed it.
  • Needs a screw lid but not a sports cap
  • Wide necked bottles are easier to fill
  • Bottles with a flat base are easier
  • No milk bottles - the plastic is too flimsy and the handles are impossible to fill
  • Start with 500ml, trust us - it's much more satisfying to get one made and move onto the next rather than slogging it out over one big one for days/weeks.
Plastic! ...The easy bit right!?
  • Collect any flexible plastic that can't be recycled. A small amount of hard plastic can be used but you'll need soft plastics to get in all the gaps.
  • Make sure it's clean and dry
  • Plastic bags, crisp packets, chocolate wrappers, styrofoam, straws are perfect
Then you'll need a poking stick, a wooden spoon is fine just make sure it's not sharp (so metal isn't great). And very importantly make sure it will go all the way down to the bottom of your bottle. 
Next is to chop up the bits of plastic. The smaller the better but around 5cm x 5cm is fine. This is where you'll appreciate having a wider neck and you'll soon see why it's good to clean the plastic. 
Then get filling and squishing!
Start the bottle off with a squishy plastic as the base... such as a plastic bag (Sainsbury's ones look cool because they're a bright colour) then add the plastic in layers, squishing it right down into the corners and bottom of the bottle every few minutes. 
The ideal weight your bottle needs to get to is a 3rd of the weight in millilitres. So if your bottle is 750ml, it needs to be at least 250g. Some plastic is lighter than others so it can change from brick to brick.
For more information on building eco-bricks and where they're used check out the EcoBricks UK website.
We're really proud of how this event went and we're really excited about hosting more. Next up is our Glitter Party! and the next workshop at our unit is a Head dress workshop hosted by Pluma UK! More details to come. 
 
 

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