Surely you have seen that we must all start to use less plastics, bags and in general to start generating less garbage. And, while we are all doing our best to do so, it is a bit (very) complicated that we generate zero garbage overnight.
There are many things like PET bottles, cardboard, sheets of paper, etc. that can be recycled, however, there are many other things that generate garbage that cannot be recycled; such as cookie wrappers, bags, tickets, etc. For the latter, there are eco-bricks.
These are a great way to reuse the garbage we generate in a better way, as well as being very easy to do! So, if you’ve already done a little research on them or still don’t know anything about the subject, in this post you will find what eco-bricks are, why you should start yours, how to make them and what to do with it when you finish it.
What are eco-bricks?
Ecobricks (or green bricks) are pet bottles that are filled with clean and dry waste, which is not hazardous and cannot be recycled. They can be used in so many ways, from benches to sit on, to houses! Yup, houses, cool idea, huh?
The idea of eco-bricks arose from the need of people like you and me to take responsibility for the plastics we use and the garbage we produce, since inside they fit the equivalent of 3 jumbo garbage bags! It is a great way that we, as individuals, can reduce a little bit the environmental impact that we generate, also helping the seas, which is where a large part of that garbage arrives. Thus, we do not have to wait for the government to do something, because, let’s face it, that is not a very likely reality (at least in Latin American countries).
The pros and cons of eco-bricks
Like everything in life, this also has its pros and cons. And in the case of eco bricks, there are many different opinions. There are people who think that it is a great proposal for reducing garbage (or at least to use it in a more efficient way). But there are other people who argue, on the contrary, that this can increase the use and production of plastics (= more garbage).
In my opinion, I don’t believe that there is yet a definitive solution to stop the use and therefore production of plastics and waste. And it is a total truth that everyone, absolutely everyone, must begin to reduce the plastics that we use to a greater extent.
But, to be honest, there are many products that we may not yet be able to get wholesale, there are families (like mine) who buy their pantry with vouchers that they can only redeem in supermarkets, or perhaps there are things that we simply love and come wrapped in a wrap. So why don’t we use those plastics that come to our homes from time to time in a better way?
Also, by doing this, we can begin to realize the amount of plastics that we occupy thanks to our eco-bricks and begin to reduce the greater amount of these.
Before making your eco-brick
Now that you know what an ecobrick is and its pros and cons, these are some details that should be taken into account before starting to make an ecobrick.
Choose the bottle you are going to use
The first thing you have to do is choose the PET bottle that you are going to use, it depends on what you want to do with it, it is the size that you will have to choose.
For example, if you are going to make benches or something that you are going to do yourself, select a size that you will always use, the one that you think is most appropriate. If, on the other hand, you are going to donate them in a specific place, investigate well what size is required for you to choose a bottle of that size.
Usually the most suitable sizes are 1.5, 2 or 2.5 liters.
Learn what goes and what doesn’t inside your eco-brick
It is super important to know what you can and cannot put in your eco brick (ecological brick). Since this will depend on whether your project will be useful or not.
What can you put in an ecobrick
Soft, dry plastics that cannot be recycled.
Some examples may be the following:
- Chips wrappers, cookies, among others
- Latex gloves, sponges,
- Plastic or laminated bags,
- Plastic spoons (cutlery)
- Masking tape,
- Medicine plastics
- Gum, rubber bands, balloons, straws
- Aluminum foil, metallic slats, yogurt caps, butter wrapper.
What you can’t put on an ecobrick
- Anything that has food or organic residue on it: This will produce methane inside your bottle, causing it to explode, ruining all your work.
- Anything that can be recycled in some other way: If you can keep it in the circular economy, then please don’t put it inside your eco-brick.
- Other than plastic: Other materials can cause them to break or even explode. Some examples of this are batteries, so you don’t want to put batteries in your eco-brick.
- Any waste that is dirty: This, as with organic waste, will also cause methane.
How to make an ecobrick?
Well, now that we have seen what you can and what not to put inside your eco-brick, it’s time to start doing it! [insert fireworks sound]
Select and clean
The first step is to clean the bottle you are going to use very well and then deposit the filling of your eco-brick there.
Now, you must select those residues that you will use to put inside your eco-brick. As well as start saving those others that you find. You can save multiple wrappers, for example, and then clean them up or, if you don’t like your work piling up, clean them as you’re done with them.
To clean them, you can do it with soap and water. Always make sure you clean very well and don’t leave any residue on them for anything in the world.
Dry and cut
Once you have made sure you have everything super clean, it is time to put them to dry completely well before you put them inside your bottle. I always leave them draining on a clothesline with a little pin on top of a little plant (so the water that runs off them irrigates the little plant a little and is not wasted) and before cutting them I dried them with a towel.
Now, this step is a bit optional; cut. Preferably cut the residue to put it in. This will help you to better put and compress the plastics inside the bottle and that way your eco-brick is much harder …
Put the waste in the bottle
For this step you can help yourself with a stick that is longer than the bottle, such as a drumstick, so that you can put the wraps in without any problem. This will also help to compact the waste to the bottom and accommodate it better.
Wait a bit
Once you have filled your eco-brick; that it’s completely full and so hard that you can stand on it without adding (that it’s as hard as a brick hahaha) it’s time to wait a bit.
You must wait a week without opening the ecological brick. After that week if you hear a sound like gas (something like a “tsssss”), the most likely thing is that there has been some organic residue left inside it, and sadly it cannot be used 🙁
If this happens to you, you can empty all the contents, wash it again perfectly and fill a new bottle again and after a week check that everything has gone well.
Find out what you will do with it
Once you’ve finished your eco-brick, it’s time to see what you’ll do with it. There are many options, like the ones I will show you below.
What to do with your ecobrick?
There are many, many ways to occupy an eco-brick. A good idea is to put several together and with them make your own projects, such as benches, flowerpots, etc. There are many tutorials on the internet that will help you in this task.
If, on the other hand, you are not much about crafts, you can use it for one of the ideas that most caught my attention and that seemed the most novel to me: donate it and that with it you can build a house. Yes, a house!
Personally, I think it is a great idea that can help create a better home for someone who needs it, and it is what I will do my eco-brick once I finish it.
For that, you can donate it to places such as Ecobrick Exchange, where they have much more information about how to make your eco brick and how you can donate it.
There are many other places to take them too, this is a small list of them in different states and countries:
Mexico: Zama Mexico, Xabondi
Argentina: Bottle of love
Colombia: Bottles of Love, Ecoworks
Chile: Ecoladrillos Chile
Peru: Ecoladrillos Peru
If you know of any other place in your state or country where eco-bricks can be taken, let me know in the comments to add it to this list :))
It is very important that if you decide to take it somewhere, you make sure that you really do your eco-brick well, because if it is not done correctly, all we are doing is passing our trash to them and they will have to get rid of it 🙁 So, it’s up to It is extremely important to make sure we do it correctly from the beginning.
Making an eco-brick is a great option to better occupy those waste that you cannot recycle and that in that way they do not contaminate more. In addition, they are very easy to do and can help another person who needs it.
Remember that it’s always best to reduce your consumption of these (and in general of any waste); it will be so much better for you, others and for the planet.
Tell me, will you start making your eco-brick? What will you do with it when you finish it? Let me know in the comments!
I hope this post has been helpful to you. If so, remember to share it on your social media so that more people can start making their own eco-brick (you can still share it with your family and / or friends, so they can make their own together).
Have an amazing day, month, and life :))