Earth Day

Commit to becoming a Garbage Warrior!

According to Earthday network – “This year’s Earth Day is dedicated to providing the information and inspiration needed to eventually end plastic pollution, according to Earth Day Network.”

“Plastic pollution is now an ever-present challenge. We can see plastics floating in our rivers, ocean and lagoons, littering our landscapes and affecting our health and the future of billions of children and youth. We have all contributed to this problem –- mostly unknowingly,” Valeria Merino, vice president of Global Earth Day at Earth Day Network, said in a statement.

It’s all so familiar – the scenes below were recently taken on what used to be a pristine beach.

What if there was a dead simple way to turn your waste into green construction material and keep it out of our ocean and landfills?

Meet the EcoBrick

Photo copyright Katherine Smith

A dynamic team in Cape Town head up

“We do this by using EcoBricks – plastic waste compressed into PET-bottles – a highly insulating building material that is water-, fire- and even bullet-proof.

Our programmes empower individuals to address the shortage of quality education facilities, implement sustainable waste management systems and raise environmental awareness.’

Everybody should be participating and adding encouragment to such projects.

As well it is heartening to see that similar projects are happening worldwide / see the ‘OceanEcoBrick’ link below.

Rise up everybody and help stem the tide of plastic pollution!


31 thoughts on “Earth Day

    1. It would be interesting to know how stable / what the longevity of a plastic home would be. The straw-bale concept never took off here as the termites could reduce that building material in weeks. It’s going to be interesting to see how innovative the design and concepts work.

  1. Ecobricks are a brilliant idea. Why not? We cover the flimsiest materials (chipboard for example) with good looking coatings to make beautiful structures. And since plastic is damn-near indestructible, it would make a great foundation.

    1. I did a quick google search to learn more and was surprised to see how widespread PET bottles housing is taking off. And further use of incorporating plastic into construction material. That indestructible factor can be turned into an advantage. The Toa houses in Ghana in an image search puts them in the map / they’re way ahead of us here in SA. A lot of innovation happening in the affordable housing sector.

    1. It’s an interesting initiative and something that’s just come to light here recently. Though it’s already taken off in other regions of the world / noting the Toa houses in Ghana (although they fill the bottles with sand). The hospitality industry could really get it going through donating used bottles and hooking up with recycling depots. It could really assist with affordable solutions.

      1. I guess in terms of compaction it would be more uniform. It will be interesting to follow up and I hope to investigate further and see where the project heads. Happy that our local mall is a depot for the Exchange / next initiative would be to promote beach walk clean-ups.

  2. A both heartbreaking and heart warming post. I’m feeling hopeful because it seems the plastics problem is finally becoming seen and acknowledged. And seeing the creative use of this refuse in things like the ecobricks fills my heart and reminds me how creative we humans are. And that we have the solutions, we just have to apply them.

    1. I so hear and feel the paradox here, Alison. It is heartening to see the innovative approaches – and global communities involvement. Add compliance to the list. Thinking of the ozone layer depletion and how it led to banning Chlorofluorocarbons in manufactured goods. Sure sounds like a groundswell of change is happening – UN environmental agencies helping to push targets. Add to the heartbreak though is an ineffable sadness that it’s all too late to stop the pervasive integration into natural systems. Nano/micro sized plastic beads are already in deep water sea columns and evidence of plastiglomerates fusing into rock strata could become a geological marker for this Anthropocene epoch. Man!

  3. What an amazing initiative! I don’t see why this couldn’t be used everywhere. I’m sure the walls could then be covered by a more aesthetically pleasing material. Not unlike the ‘Earth Houses’ people build out of old car tyres.

    1. There’s a lot of innovation happening with this concept! I did a google search and found out that it is widespread and what amazing projects are being implemented. Qualities of durability, being bullet-proof, having thermodynamic heat retaining / cool are mentioned in the list of benefits, as well as cost. I’m interested to see where this project leads in my area – Exchange

  4. A simple suggestion please. Over Easter Weekend, I climbed Lions Head. I was disappointed to see how much litter was up there. People just disregard their plastic bottles and other rubbish.

    To the “powers that may be” – maybe a bin needs to be put up there…

    1. It is so depressing to read your comments on the litter, Darrel. People just don’t care about the environment. If anything can put me into a rant this is a subject that does it!!
      I doubt SanParks would install bins as this should be a ‘Take it with You’ zone.
      Wish City would drive another campaign against littering – impose fines and make people aware. They ran a ‘Zap it in a ZBee’ – using an ostrich as a logo – great publicity about 10/15 years ago – it was very successful then.

  5. Plastics have been such a part of our lives that’s it’s hard to break the habit. Recently my eyes were opened to the reality of plastic pollution, especially in the ocean, when our family hiked out to a beach, but we had to step over tons of trash the WHOLE way there. It broke my heart! Since then, we bring bags to the beach with us each time, to try to do our part. But really, it’s going to take a shift in the way we function daily to slow the manufacturing of so much waste! Thanks for bringing attention to Eco Brick Exchange. What a cool initiative!

    1. Yes! Heartbreaking it is. Are you in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere Mel? So true too that unwittingly we as consumers have added to the consequences. Glad that the issues are being highlighted / showing the devastation and the far reaching the effects. It takes a documentary like Blue Planet II to see understand the devastation. Glad that some countries now are taking steps to ban some items, but hell we have a long way to go!

  6. I remember seeing some homes built from recycled plastic bottles on tv a few years ago. I think it was an African country but I don’t know where. I wish I was creative enough to make something useful with them. I very, very rarely buy bottled water, squash or fizzy stuff and I use soap not shower gels, so I do try to do my bit.

    1. Hi Gilly, it may have been Ghana -which looks to be ahead of other countries in housing material innovation. I found information on Tao houses and also designs for cane houses. Cost effective and quick to build. Amazing stuff on Pinterest – tables, chairs, bookcases. Well done on minimising plastic products in your home. A good example for all of us! The hospitality industry could be a major source of bottles – hotels, bars, restaurants. Here’s helping to fight the scourge.

  7. I’m torn. If a building is renovated, apparently builder’s rubble forms the major part of the landfill at Muizenberg.
    While the rubble is brick and concrete it could be crushed and used as fill.
    But sell by ecobricks? Imagine if all those little bits of plastic fly free again later.

    1. You have a point, Diana. I’ve been trying to find out more on building regulations / requirements for PET bottles. It is a worry that there could be serious issues in years to come. Other projects use sand as filling, which does improve the environmental issue. Though it appears that there is much experimentation in the use of PET made into required building material for construction uses such as bridges or combined with cement. Guessing this is evolving pet application.

    1. Have been reading too about recycling efforts where PET bottles are refashioned into tiles and even combined with other building materials for added durability. Guessing there will be constraints on making sure it won’t impact the environment negatively.

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