The general idea of ecobricks is very simple: gather recycled plastic and pack it as tightly as you can into a plastic bottle. This then becomes a building block, which can be used in a variety of ways.
The ecobrick movement is gathering momentum as plastic pollution has made global headlines. It has become an increasingly popular material to build with, especially in developing countries.
Typically mixed with natural building methods such as cob, adobe, or wattle & daub, the ecobricks provide an excellent structure to build with. They also act as a natural insulator due to the tightly-packed insulating plastics.
The Global Ecobrick Alliance has been active since 2015, and has provided extensive guidelines on how to properly make ecobricks. Their principles encompass a circular, cradle-to-cradle design to increase the longevity of the ecobrick and its components.
Using natural building materials as opposed to cement also ensures that the bricks can be extricated undamaged, should the building be taken down.The whole premise of up-cycling plastic to form useful products is inherently sustainable.
Ecobricks are part of a solution that enables people to not only clean up their rivers and coastlines, but these once-wasted materials can be used to build things of direct benefit to local communities. Several NGOs are also offering plastic incentives, whereby individuals are paid to collect waste plastics and make ecobricks for various projects.
Creating homes from plastic waste and natural materials is smart: the plastics are sturdy and will stand the test of time, and they can be used over and over again for decades to come.
Ecobricks certainly offer a ready-made solution to the immediate problems posed by plastic. They are a tool for cleaning up local areas, educating schools and communities, and creating structures that will stand the test of time.
For the ecobricks to be most durable and not eventually contribute to further environmental pollution, it would be best for them not to be exposed to sunlight. This can be done if they get entirely plastered over.
You can watch a short video about making and using ecobricks at www.youtube.com
Parts of this article were pulled from www.azocleantech.com