Ecobrick Questions & Answers
Milk bottles - Uk question
I was going to ask the same question! I appreciate that 4 pint milk bottles are large volume (2.2 litres) so will take a long time to fill but we have access to a large number. However my concern is that they are made of HDPE which is not gas-proof unlike the recommended PET bottles. This means air may be able to penetrate the bottle over time which could help degrade the plastics inside. Is this a real problem or am I worrying about nothing?
Hi! Thanks for your question - this is actually quite a common question we get amongst UK ecobrickers.
The short answer is no, we would not recommend milk bottles commonly available in the UK to be used for ecobricks. We would instead encourage you to pop this in your kerbside recycling as much as possible, and obtain a PET (fizzy drink) bottle from friends, family or from litter picking for ecobricking.
The reasons are as follows:
a) These bottles commonly have a handle, which is tricky to stuff and make dense.
b) Milk bottles are commonly made of thin HDPE plastic - this makes it easy to compress and it loses its structural integrity easily. Stuffing it with excessive force can easily misshape or pierce the walls.
c) Some bottles might also be a white, opaque colour. This means that you would be unable to see the contents of the ecobrick and it makes it difficult to identify air gaps which need filling to make a good ecobrick.
d) Ecobrick modules are easier to make with uniform, symmetrical bottles. The protrusion of the handle can make them tricky to build modules with.
d) The UK's plastic recycling system is far from ideal, but one of the things we DO recycle very well are plastic milk bottles. This is mostly thanks to a large scale pioneer project by WRAP in partnership with industry partners, which allows milk bottles to be recycled back into food-grade milk bottles (closed loop recycling). Other plastics tend to undergo open-loop recycling or "downcycling". This link gives you more information about the WRAP project.
For more information about the recycling setup in the UK, join us on Facebook at Ecobricks UK: The EcoEd series
Hope that answers your question!
Ecobricks UK Admin Team
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