Eco bricks: an easy alternative to trashing trash

If you are anything like me your trash seems to pile up with packaging that isn’t recyclable and hard to reuse. Thanks to our friend Faith in Santa Fe we have a new solution to this problem that may be becoming a border line addiction for my partner. Eco bricks are a sustainable solution to dealing with trash that would otherwise end up in a landfill. It involves stuffing the materials we can’t recycle into a plastic container with a broom handle, bike seat post or another stick like tool until you can’t possibly fit anymore. The result is a rigid container that can then be used in construction as building blocks or insulation. The materials that we most commonly use are; chip bags, organic produce stickers, cereal bags, twist ties, and pretty much any plastic bags that aren’t “stretchy” ( because most cities are able to recycle the stretchy kind). It is best to try and reduce the packaging bought in the first place and recycle anything that can be but because we all can’t live with zero waste this is a practical way to drastically reduce the waste we do create.

My partner went through our trash today at lunch and was able to completely clear it out, stuffing everything into a bottle we found on the roadside while biking last night. The result was our first eco-brick of many to come. All that is needed to start making these is a plastic bottle (which can be found discarded just about anywhere on the planet), plastic trash and some motivation to turn trash into something of value, while cleaning up the planet. If you aren’t familiar with alternative building methods that could utilize this PUM there are many resources on line to learn from, here is one from www.smithsonianmag.com showing how Laura Kutner turned 8,000 of these into a home.

If we ever amass enough of these to build something I will share our PUM creation. Until then have fun building some of your own “trash bricks” and please share any project ideas that could utilize these eco bricks. This is a powerful tool in reducing our waste and living more sustainably.

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