Ecobricks are 100% Cradle-to-Cradle

Ecobricks are a deep solution for plastic.

Ecobricks, and all the applications on our site, are fundamentally Cradle-to-Cradle.  This means, that the next life of the Ecobrick is planned into the creation that we make out of them.

Everything comes to its end.  Alas, pollution is caused by short sighted thinking: not planning the end into a design. The vast majority of the products we use today go from their birth in a factory, into our hands, into their grave– which is always someplace within the Earth’s biosphere. Pollution is the result.

With Ecobricks, we do things differently!  Learning from the cycles of life we use Ecobricks in a way that anticipates their next cycle.   Instead of a straight line of cradle to grave, we can draw a circle. We can make sure our Ecobricks go from one cradle to the next, to the next.  This is the spirit behind Ecobrick Modules and LEGO.  This is the concept behind the minimal use of cement in Ecobrick construction*.

“If we think about things having multiple lives, cradle to cradle, we could design things that can go back to either nature or back to industry forever… The Stone Age did not end because humans ran out of stones. It ended because it was time for a re-think about how we live.“ – William McDonough


Ecobricks and Concrete

We advise against using ecobricks with concrete as the connecting mortar.  Concrete will solidly hold ecobricks together as walls.  However, such walls are impossible to come down without the hard rubble rupturing the ecobricks (note this is not the case with the Pura Vida Atitlan method, as the ecobricks are not bonded with concrete).  It is important to think of the next life of ecobricks and the end or our structures.

Ecobricks and Earth building

The easiest earth and ecobrick applications are benches, gardens and playgrounds. Ecobricks are laid horizontally in cob mortar. The result is a thick, sturdy construction with the cob mortar completing encasing the ecobricks to protect them from UV sunlight (with the optional exception of the coloured bottom of the Ecobrick). Thus protected from UV rays and the elements the brick will last pretty much forever in the cob.  Because cob is relatively easy to crumble (as compared to concrete) ecobricks can be extricated from the cob 5 years or 100 years into the future — and then be reused!

Ecobrickable Designator Logo

Ecobricks are essentially a catch-all technical nutrient cycle of non-biodegradable materials.  Ecobricks allow designers to take their first step to cradle-to-cradle design.  With a little forethought and advance planning, their product can be made easily and effectively Ecobrickable.  Because Ecobricks enable virtually any plastic product to be turned into cradle-to-cradle building blocks, we have developed the Ecobrickable Designator Logo.

Ecobrick Modules

It’s easy to make versatile, durable and tremendously practical indoor furniture that can be used in any way you need them.  Milstein Modules can be used individually as seats or combined like LEGO to create two dimensional horizontal surfaces like tables, beds, benches and more (for vertical LEGO see Dieleman Ecobrick Modules).  To make the modules we use silicone sealant.  Silicone is different from plastic (it doesn’t degrade into toxins) yet it bonds ecobricks strongly together.

It is important to use these modules as indoor furniture.  Ecobricks should never be exposed to the sun. Ultra violet (UV) rays will gradually photo-degrade the plastic bottle. After only two or three years, the brittle bottle will crack and burst, releasing all our hard packed plastic!  Not good.  Keeping plastic indoors and out of the sun will avoid this problem. Learn more about making modules here

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An Introduction to Bottle Building

For a comprehensive introduction to the the theory and techniques of bottle building, download our free, open source construction guide.

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Plastic is Poison

Through sun and water exposure, plastic breaks down into environmental toxins.  Packing it into an ecobrick secures it from poisoning the biosphere.  This is important and valuable!

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The Consumption Connection

Is there a connection between the pollution of the planet and of our bodies?  We explore this question and more in our VEB resources.

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