Going Green – Eco Brick

My wife and I often talk about minimizing our carbon footprint by reducing our plastic usage. This was not an easy challenge considering that we are so used to the convenience of using plastic and disposing of them freely without thinking about the impact that it will bring to the environment. We used to be guilty of (and sometimes still are) of using and consuming products like 3-in-1 coffee which come in plastic sachets, plastic coffee stirrers, cotton buds with plastic stems, plastic cups and spoons and forks from fastfood chains, and the like.

A few years back when we were still living in Manila, we started using reusable bags or eco-bags when we did our groceries. This was due to the fact that Raissa was able to get an abundance of reusable bags from their annual PPS convention and sometimes we would get them for free from various events. Still it took a lot of discipline to always bring our bags especially during unplanned grocery sessions which was often the case.

Fast forward to today, we are now consistently bringing our bags when doing our groceries (planned). On top of that, we’ve started minimizing on plastic usage like disposable cups by bringing our own tumblers/water bottles, refusing straws, bringing our own lunch containers (we are still trying to make this a habit) and buying less of the one-time use plastic products. Yet when we reviewed our trash output, we noticed that we still produce a big bag of garbage every week. So much for doing our share on saving the environment.

Proverbs 27:18 (ESV)

18 Whoever tends a fig tree will eat its fruit, and he who guards his master will be honored.

We’ve heard about eco-bricks for a while but never really thought of trying this method out before. Maybe it was because we both lack the time and because it was inconvenient. The thought of rinsing the container to put the plastic in, to wash the plastic that goes into the container, to cut up the plastic, I mean, who has time for that? Who has the time to watch and wait for the plastic to dry? Right? It was inconvenient because we were overthinking the process. We were overthinking it because we immediately focused on coming up with quality eco-bricks instead of focusing on reducing our plastic waste. We wanted the containers to be uniform, we wanted to segregate the plastics and etc. It wasn’t until we realized that we were still producing a handful of trash on a weekly basis that we really started to do something about it. And so, we just started.

We began by putting small sachets of plastics on the containers mixing them up with medium sized plastics. Our goal shifted from making eco-bricks to just stuffing plastic into the bottles. After about 3 weeks, we noticed that our trash output reduced significantly from using a big trash bag, down to just a big sando bag. If I were to guess, it would be about 50%-60% less in volume. As it turned out, we were throwing out a lot of plastic to begin with.

Since we were also just stuffing in plastic after plastic into the containers, we were running out of containers fast. It was then that we started to put in a little extra effort by cutting up the plastics before stuffing them into the containers. And from here, you could say that everything just snowballed fast. Almost all the plastics that we use and about to throw away are immediately rinsed/washed (when dirty), air dried and goes into a trash bin for cutting. We have 2 bins, one for the “to cut” and another for the “to brick”. This way, our house/studio help will be able to cut out and stuff the plastics during their down time.

Plastics that can no longer be used are washed and air dried.
Our growing garden of single use plastic bottles ready to be harvested.
To cut and to stuff containers

Over the past 4 or 5 months we’ve been able to cut down on our trash output and we have also cut down on our plastic usage as well. The quality of our bricks has been improving too.

This has really been a good learning experience for us since it has also taught our staff to not throw out plastic anywhere and we even encourage them to apply it in their homes. They already formed a habit at home or in the studio that plastic wrappers have their own bins apart from the regular trash bins. It has opened our eyes to other possibilities as well since we have been able to reduce our trash output to another 20%-30% more.  Stay tuned on how we were able to do this on our next post.

Cocoy cutting up plastics during his down time at home
Cocoy stuffing cut plastics into single use bottles in the studio
Even our little girl is helping out in making ecobricks

Below is a simple slideshow how to get started.

Below is a video tutorial on how to properly make quality bricks by Eco Art Farm by Lihuk

We don’t have to go big on doing our share, we can just start small. For most of us, we just have to focus on not throwing away those small wrappers which will end up in our oceans.

Share this post and do your share for our environment too. You and I share the same environment. :)

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