Since we started “eco bricking” my partner and I have been able to completely get rid of our trash can. It has been exciting not having anything going to the dump and creating building materials instead. As I write this she is stuffing bottles we found on the roadside last night with some un-recycleable materials we’ve accumulated; styrofoam, clifbar wrappers, some shirt scraps and water filters that in the past would have ended up in the landfill. This process has also given us a chance to examine “waste” more closely and see the different materials that make it up. For example, upon closer examination the water filter that we replaced in Carrie’s Earthship the other day is made up of a plastic tube that can be recycled, a compostable paper liner and just a few pieces of un-recycleable plastic that will end up in a Eco brick.
Getting a bit more intimate and spending some time thinking about these materials may not be for everyone but it sure has given us a new perspective on things.
The eco brick is a great example of potentially useful material and one creative solution to waste. We try to be mindful about not buying too many packaged goods but are nowhere near perfect and still have a long way to go on our zero waste journey. For us it starts with trying to consume less, then compost, up-cycle what we can, recycle, and finally building eco bricks with anything left over. Consuming less packaged goods can sometimes be difficult, the things I purchase most are tortilla chips, energy bars and tortillas. All of these things can be homemade less expensively and and usually end up tastier too! (I will admit that I often give in to the convenience of packaged goods but there is something satisfying to making it myself.) You can check out my recipe for spinach tortillas here.
Looking at waste as Potentially Useful Material has been a lot of fun for us, it seems there are endless solutions and ideas to the things we once thought of as trash. What are some creative things you have done to create less waste?