FAQ – “Where to drop-off my ecobricks?”

Answer by: Russell Maier
Date: April 11th, 2018

Dear Janarga,

Thanks for this question!  It is actually, one of the most common questions we get on Ecobricks.org– and it’s a great one because it gets to the essence of what differentiates ecobricks from recycling, incineration, dump sites, and all the traditional means of disposing of plastic.

Ecobricks are about taking personal and local responsibility for one’s plastic

In all the traditional means of disposing of plastic, we give our “plastic waste” away to someone else.  In contrast, ecobricks are about taking personal responsibility for our plastic.  Notice that I didn’t see “plastic waste” or “trash” this time.  That’s because, fundamental to ecobricks is also a shift in perception of just what plastic is.  No longer do we judge and condemn plastic as something worthless to be thrown away, we see it for what it is:  a material with pros and cons, just like every other material.  The cons include the fact that plastic is dangerous in the environment.  The pros include many remarkable characteristics, like longevity and water fastness, that make it pretty darn useful!

Ecobricking lets us both trap the danger plastic inside a bottle, and put the plastic to use.  Locally.  In fact, that’s perhaps one of the biggest reasons to ecobrick– to take the plastic out of the global industrial system that has some pretty fundamental problems.  If you’re in England your probably hearing about the problems with recycling right now.  I am from Canada, and I took a job in a recycling facility to see what happens to our plastic first hand.  I observed that recycling actually causes more problems than it solves.  Far better if we can take the plastic back from the big systems, and put it to use to benefit our homes and communities.

And that’s easy, because you can build all sorts of awesome things with ecobricks!

Whether you live in a palace, an apartment, or a tepee, you can put your ecobricks to good use.  Over the last decade, people all around the world have been developing all sorts of applications for ecobricks: from making indoor furniture, to LEGO, to parks, to structures.

Personally, all the chairs in my home are made from ecobricks.  My work desk is made from ecobricks with a glass top.  Oh… and every morning, I go out under the tree to have a coffee on my garden bench– which is made from… you guessed it… ecobricks!

 

It’s simple to make something practical.  You only need 12 ecobricks to make your first stool!  Please check out the page www.ecobricks.org/build to get some ideas.

Secondly, that said, when you get going ecobricking you will discover that making ecobricks is hard work.  For those of us who don’t consume that much plastic in the first place, you’ll be hard pressed to finish that first 12 bottle ecobrick stool in several months! (I make about one ecobrick a month now).

That’s where your friends and neighbours come in.  Ecobricks are ideal for community collaborations.  For parks and benches, you’ll need hundreds of ecobricks!

It’s important to distinguish here between community collaborations and dropping off ecobricks.  Community collaborations are about meeting a goal together, pooling ecobricks and bringing everyone together to build more than we ever could alone.

Dropping off ecobricks, is dangerously similar to giving one’s waste to someone else– and the fundamental dynamic remains unchanged. Myself and my fellow GEA trainers, have observed over and over again that ecobricks that are dropped off tend to be of poor quality (under the minimum density of 0.33g/ml). It is almost impossible to fix a poor ecobrick, and there is very little one can do with it.  In contrast, we observe that when people make ecobricks for themselves or their community, the ecobricks are made with attention and love.  Not only are they of good quality — but they are pretty sexy looking too!

We’ve worked hard to put together our GoBrik help to help with community collaborations.  GoBrik lets you log your ecobricks and work on projects together with your community.  You can join a community to work with, and you can see a map of communities that need ecobricks or that are have too many.

At the heart of it, ecobricking is about caring for and taking personal responsibility for our own plastic– as opposed to the old model of dropping our trash in another place or on other people.  By putting our own plastic to use, by working together with our community on collaborative projects, we can keep the plastic out of the biosphere and move on to a healthy harmony with the cycles of life around us.

Thanks again for your question.  I look forward to see what you do with your plastic!

Russell

You can read a more in depth essay of mine on this topic:  1000 Years Pollution Free and Recycling The Evil Illusion and Plastic, I Love You

 

 



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