ECOBRICKING One of the major projects undertaken by the shop is ecobricking - filling plastic bottles so full with plastic that they act as bricks. The bricks are then used as building blocks to create eco-friendly structures. To date, this project has sequestered almost 560kg of single-use plastic (over 1500 bottles) from our environment. In 2019 we were proud to build Sammy the Snake, an eco-bench, at Hampstead Norreys Primary School (especially as he appeared on ITV and local news). To our knowledge, he is the country's first major structure built with ecobricks.
And during lockdown, some of the ecobricks were used to create what we think is the country's first nature eco-pond. The video, created as part of GreenFest 2020, shows both Sammy and the eco-pond (you may wish to skip forward to 45 seconds in).
Sammy the eco-bench . . .
Inside Sammy there are 154 ecobricks, mostly 2 litre bottles, containing about 85kg of single use plastic. He is surrounded by cob, a natural building material made from clay, straw, water and lime. The cob protects the bottles from sunlight which would cause the plastic to break down, releasing gases into the atmosphere. Lime is mixed with the cob to help protect against the elements.
Creating Sammy was great fun (though mucky!). We are grateful to the many local companies that helped reduce costs by giving generous discounts, and of course to all who took part, but most of all to Ken Neal of Newbury whose knowledge and practical expertise (and equipment) was invaluable. We couldn't have done it without you Ken!
Ecobrick wildlife pond The wildlife pond below was built during lockdown, using about 155 small (500ml) ecobricks and removing about 31kg of plastic from the environment. The 'flowers' are the bases of the ecobricks - the only parts of the bottle that can be exposed to daylight. The 'cob' has been made using poor quality soil and long-stemmed cut dried grass, mixed with water. The expectation is that the roots of the plants will bind the soil enabling it to overwinter.
If you have an ecobrick project you would like to share, please let us know: email email@example.com
Meanwhile . . .
People from all over the south of England continue to bring us their ecobricks. We have an additional 1300 ecobricks waiting to be used. UPDATE: BECAUSE OF THE CORONAVIRUS WE ARE ASKING PEOPLE NOT TO BRING ECOBRICKS FOR THE TIME BEING, AND WE HAVE RUN OUT OF STORAGE SPACE. THANK YOU FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING.
Making an ecobrick is not easy. There are minimum weight requirements but more importantly the brick must be so solid that when you stand on it there is no 'squish'. Underweight ecobricks can't be used so it is crucial that people understand how to ecobrick successfully, or their hard work will be wasted.