Eco-bricks are a low-cost and accessible building material that are made by compressing non-recyclable waste into PET bottles. They can help reduce plastic pollution by keeping small pieces of plastic from entering the environment or landfill, they can empower communities around a project, and they are a great way to reuse and repurpose non-recyclable plastics.
When you start collecting your household’s non-recyclable waste in an Eco-Brick, you soon realise how much you are discarding each day!
It is important to note with Eco-Bricks, that often the supply can exceed the demand from projects. Thus, it’s important to link your eco-bricking to a project. Also, refrain from using clear PET bottles. Clear PET bottles are widely recycled in South Africa and are the main source of income for many collectors. Rather, choose coloured PET bottles as these do not have the same value for recyclers. Remember, don’t throw clear PET bottles in your refuse, rather take it to your nearest recycler. They will be happy to receive them. See our map to locate a recycler near you.
The Motherwell Community and Enviro Hub is such a project that is hoping to make use of eco-bricks. The project plans to expand the existing waste recycling facility and build a community environmental centre. Eco-bricks will form part of the green design of the upgraded centre. Learn how to make an eco-brick below and donate your brick to the Motherwell Community and Enviro Hub!
What you will need:
- A 2 or 2.25 litre PET cooldrink bottle – washed and dried.
- Please preferably use green or brown bottles as clear bottles are widely recycled in South Africa and are of high value to collectors. Green and brown bottles do not have the same value and thus are ideal for Eco-Bricks.
- A stick
- Various non-recyclable waste items to fill it. These could include:
- Chip, sweet and chocolate wrappers
- Foil from tea bag packaging
- Thin plastic films like cling film
- Polystyrene- broken into small pieces
- Only use clean waste to prevent rot.
- Don’t use meat packaging or milk sachets, unless properly cleaned and dried before stuffing them in the bottle.
- Don’t use recyclable waste rather recycle these.
- Twist your waste and insert it into a plastic bottle.
- Tightly pack the waste into bottles from the bottom to the top. Leaving no gaps. Use a metal rod or wooden stick to tightly push waste into the bottle.
- On completion, each bottle should weigh no less than 400g. They must be firm to the touch.
You can donate your eco-brick to help the Motherwell Community and Enviro Hub by:
- Dropping them off at Sustainable Seas Trust offices: 22 Main Road, Walmer, Port Elizabeth
- If an existing Greencycle client, place them inside your Greencycle recycling collection
For large volume Eco-Brick donations or any other donations towards the upgrade please contact:
- Belinda Clark of CEN Integrated Environmental Management Unit for more information on 072 725 6400 / firstname.lastname@example.org or website: https://environmentcen.co.za/.
- Alternatively, Therese Boulle: email@example.com
For more information on eco-bricks, visit our Resources page.