Ecobrick Questions & Answers
Filling the Ecobrick
I was initially told to fill the bottles with only plastic, but a few people have also said that you should put anything inside the bottles that would otherwise end up on a landfill. So items like plastic coated cardboard, polystyrene, tin foil, waxy paper, fabric off cuts etc etc - As long as there is not organic matter on the item.
Is this allowable, or should it only be plastic items?
This is a tricky one - as what you can recycle highly depends on where you are and the facilities provided by your local authority.
Remember that ecobricking is not just a way to "dispose" of everything. It is a way of taking personal responsibility for our own waste, reflecting on how we can avoid producing it next time, and as a bonus, producing a reuseable building block in the process.
However we do recognise that it is easier said than done, and in these modern times it is really difficult to completely live an urban life plastic-free!
So you are absolutely right, as long as there is no organic matter on them - and in the case of plastic or waxy coated cardboard or paper, the cardboard or paper needs to be absolutely dry - they can go in your ecobrick. This also applies to store receipts, which are commonly coated in BPA and cannot be recycled as the recycling process will release more BPA into the air, and BPA is a health hazard. So these can be ecobricked too.
Polystyrene is a kind of plastic, but is very poorly recycled due to its bulk but weightlessness making it of low economical value to reprocessors. Therefore these can be put in your ecobrick, but only in small amounts, so that it does not thwart your efforts in getting your ecobrick to the minimum weight!
Tin foil can be recycled and should be, small pieces need to be gathered and scrunched until it is about the size of your fist so that it does not fall through the sorting machinery at the recycling plant and can be recycled effectively.
Many people collect fabric offcuts for crafting, stuffing etc. Perhaps consider connecting with your community to see if it can be reused or repurposed rather than ecobricking these. In the UK, useful sites and apps for these include Facebook Marketplace, Freegle, Freecycle and Olio.
Hope that helps!
Ecobricks UK Admin Team
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Frequently Asked Questions about Ecobricks.
- What is an ecobrick? /what
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