In recent years, there has been a growing emphasis on sustainable living and finding innovative solutions to combat plastic pollution. One such solution is the concept of eco-bricks, which I had the opportunity to explore and contribute to. This essay reflects upon my personal experience with eco-bricks, highlighting their benefits, the process of creating them, the challenges faced, and the impact they can have on our environment.
Eco-bricks are a simple but effective way to address the problem of plastic waste. It involves repurposing non-biodegradable plastic materials by compacting them tightly into durable bricks. These bricks can be used for various construction projects, reducing the consumption of traditional building materials and providing an eco-friendly alternative.
To build an eco-brick, I started by collecting plastic waste (chips packets, etc.). I ensured that the plastic waste collected was clean and dry to maintain the integrity of the brick. The collected plastic was then tightly packed into a plastic bottle using a stick to compress it. The aim is to achieve a sturdy brick with no voids or air gaps. Once the bottle was filled, I sealed it tightly.
Eco-bricks offer several significant advantages in the quest for sustainability.
- Plastic waste management (plastic is prevented from ending up in landfills and the ocean)
- Conservation of traditional building resources like cement
- Reduced carbon footprint as the production of eco-bricks does not require an energy-intensive manufacturing process.
One major challenge faced in building eco-bricks was the collection of plastic waste. Single-use plastic has been banned in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand. Door delivery of items like groceries and milk further reduces the amount of plastic waste generated per day.
In the process of spreading the word about eco-bricks, one most common feedback I received was that plastic bags are used to dispose of trash. The solution to this problem would be to engage in waste segregation making recyclable and disposal processes more efficient and environmentally friendly. Another solution would be to use reusable cotton or jute bags or biodegradable and compostable bags.
I submitted my eco brick to the Jamshedpur Utility and Services Company (JUSCO), which uses bitumen technology on waste plastic for constructing roads.
My experience with eco-bricks was enlightening and empowering. It highlighted the immense potential of small-scale actions to make a big difference. By embracing this eco-friendly practice, we can pave the way for a greener future where waste is transformed into a valuable resource. The exploration and implementation of solutions like eco-bricks foster a sustainable world for generations to come.