Your Plastic Transition Ratio
People all over are realizing that we can do way better than the old modes of buying, using and throwing away. As the garbage dumps and ocean plastic patches grow bigger and bigger, it is becoming clear that the industrial ideas of ‘recycling’, ‘buying green’ and ‘minimizing our footprint’ are in fact trampling the planet. It’s now time to transition: from barren footprints to seeded furrows! From impacting to augmenting, from greying to greening. Its time for regeneration, and plastic is the place to start.
Welcome to the Plastic Transition!
We live in an age where it’s impossible to avoid plastic. So much of what we buy and consume is either made from plastic or packed in it. We are realizing the failure of our globalized industrial systems to take care of it properly. Ecobricks not only allow us to take care of our own plastic locally, they are a gateway to transition. Ecobricking enables us to lead by example, not only to live zero waste — but to go way beyond! Discerning your Personal Plastic Transition Ratio is a way to tell where you are on the scale of grey to green.
Your Plastic Consumption
As we go about our modern lives we are inevitably consuming plastic — drinking from a straw, using a bag for our groceries, taking a plastic wrapper off a candy. Most people, communities, cities and companies have no idea how much plastic they are actually consuming on a monthly or yearly basis. This unconscious consumption is directly linked to the ever growing dumps, ocean plastic patches, and clogged rivers around the world.
Also part of daily modern life, is giving plastic to others — wrapping a package in tape, buying a gift, to dropping off plastic toys for charity, or putting plastic bottles into a recycling bin. In each of these cases we are exporting our plastic to other people and places. Where will this plastic go eventually? Well… research shows that even in countries with high tech recycling systems, the rates of recycling are low, and the majority of this plastic is exported to places without recycling systems. Recycling inevitably leads to plastic being dumped and ending up in the biosphere.
Measuring your monthly plastic consumption and production is where we start. Plastic in itself isn’t the problem; it’s when we are unconscious of its impact on the biosphere. Transitioning from plastic is about being conscious of our relationship with plastic and ensuring we are on our way to consuming less and less… and sequestering more and more.
Ecobricks are one of the very few ways to definitely capture plastic. An ecobrick not only reduces the net surface area of the plastic packed by several thousandfold, it uses the longevity of plastic to trap it indefinitely. The plastic is thus kept out of the failing industrial systems, and put to use responsibly, locally. Ecobricks, unlike many other up-cycling processes, meet the standards of century-endurable, cradle-to-cradle design. Ecobricks are so effective at taking plastic out of the industrial and global systems, that it is effectively ‘sequestered’ (from the Latin ‘sequestrate’: to place in safekeeping). In other words, once captured into a bottle, the plastic isn’t going anywhere! In the same way that trees and forest ‘sequester’ C02 (i.e. store it), we can sequester plastic.
Ecobricks empower us to take care of our own plastic — enabling you to stop exporting your plastic to others and live zero waste! However, it doesn’t stop there. By picking up and packing the plastic of others, you can capture and sequester more plastic than you have consumed yourself.
The PTR is composed of four components: Your plastic consumption and production and your personal offset and community offset.
Plastic is a symbol of the unconscious industrialization over the last century that has so degraded our planet’s ecosystems. Yet… the problem is always the solution. The very best application for ecobricks is to build gardens! We call them Food Forest Play Parks. Thus, there is a direct connection between making ecobricks and the regeneration of multi-species green spaces in urban areas, and the igniting of permaculture principles in the greyest places on the planet.
Get Started Calculating Your PTR
Sign up to Ecobricks.org to create your free account— we’ll walk you through the process of setting up your PTR. This will involve saving, cleaning, drying, storing then weighing your plastic consumption every month. Don’t worry, our system will remind you and help you discern your numbers. Then, as you make ecobricks and log them on our system, you’ll be able to see your live PTR graph, and track your progress as the year progress.
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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.
“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
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!