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Saving the environment Ecobrick by Ecobrick

BirdLife Overberg is celebrating Plastic Free July, an international campaign aimed at reducing and eventually eliminating the use of single use plastics.

As part of their campaign BirdLife Overberg is highlighting several projects and campaigns ordinary people can become involved in to make a change. One of these campaigns is the Ecobrick movement that has gained a huge following throughout the world. The Endangered Wildlife Trust is involved in this project.

These “bricks” save natural resources by substituting clay bricks and are used throughout the world to build classrooms, bus stops, benches and more. These Ecobricks are bone hard once compacted tightly and are nearly impossible to break in half.

Anton Odendal of BirdLife Overberg tells us more about his attempts at making Ecobricks:

“A few weeks ago I started with my first one litre Coke bottle. My first mistake was removing the label on the plastic bottle – it is very difficult to get the glue off the bottle and a very sticky affair as one handles the bottle continually. The bottom the bottle need to be compacted before you add another layer of plastics and other material.

“In my second attempt I cut strips of glossy advertisements, folded it and put it into the bottle. Big mistake – these and things such as folded chip packets do not compact and invariably (and frustratingly) come back to the top. Also, there is no way that you can get it out of the bottle. Clearly such objects need to be cut up into small pieces.

“My third attempt at compacting a one litre plastic bottle has become, what I believe, could be a lethal weapon. It is bone hard. It is well over the target weight of 350 gram. Lots of lessons were also learnt with the objects that one uses to compact the plastics. Use a thin item (like a knitting needle) to compact the plastic from the side of the bottle downwards and then force the stuff in the middle down with a heavy item like a wooden spoon.

“Why am I so chuffed with all of this? I am fighting plastic pollution and do this while watching rugby, soccer, the news or even movies, for that matter. We have reduced our weekly black municipal refuse bag by more than 50% and the recycle bag by more than 75%. Less stuff in landfill and the general refuse stream.”

The Ecobricks will be delivered to an organisation in Stellenbosch that uses it in community development projects.

Sign up at www.plasticfreejuly.com to receive handy, practical and affordable hints on how to contribute to the fight against plastics littering the environment and the ocean.

Details on how to get started with your own Ecobricks can be found at www.ecobrick.com

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