Turning Garbage into Eco-Bricks

Eco-bricks just may be the solution to all that plastic trash that litters the world. In many third world countries, where there are official dump or containment sites, plastic waste simply piles up in villages and clogs the lakes and seas. Now thanks to a simple, yet ingenious idea, plastic is being easily recycled by villagers around the world and turned into eco-bricks. These bricks are then used as insulation in buildings, or layered between wire mesh as ‘wall material’.

An eco-brick is a plastic bottle stuffed solid with inorganic dry garbage. Making eco-bricks is simple and ultimately important! It’s the main material used for bottle schools and it has an enormous impact to the environment and it’s inhabitants. To make one, you basically need a plastic bottle, inorganic trash and a stick.

Garbage that can be used
The best materials are ones that serve no second purpose, for example paper is recyclable, so things made of polystyrene, aluminum, all kinds of plastics and in general synthetic materials, are the perfect eco brick filling. A list of possible waste would include: food packaging old socks, razor blades, used up pens and markers, clothing tags, cotton swabs, and any piece of useless garbage you could imagine. Make sure to use proper sanitary equipment when collecting trash (such as plastic gloves and trash bags). Children should have adult supervision when collecting trash to avoid any injuries, etc.

Eco-bricks in construction: sizes, widths and heights
When starting eco-bricks, its best to select the most common bottle size in your area.There is no problem in using different sizes in the same construction, but organizing width differences in a single wall may be complicated. Bottles (within a given quadrant) may have varying heights as long as the widths are the same. In fact, it is almost essential to have a mix of bottle heights to fill the quadrant. (You may need a varying combination of taller and shorter bottles, or even a horizontal row or two.) A quadrant is a square area formed by two columns and two beams. If the widths of the bottles used in a single wall vary, the widths of the quadrants will also vary. What matters most is that the chicken wire forms tightly to the bottles for a smooth finish.

Storage and Precaution Measures
Eco-bricks are made of materials derived from petroleum, therefore they are highly flammable. So they must be stored with safeguard. They are also weather resistant but must be stored with their caps on to evade insects. Be sure to agree ahead of time where you will be storing your bottles both filled and unfilled before you start your bottle collection.


To learn more about Eco-Bricks, visit The Bottle School Manual