Enviro Club issues ecobrick challenge< More Stories
“The idea is to grab a regular plastic bottle and fill it with plastics that are not generally recyclable. Instead of it ending up in landfills or stuck in waterways, we are making them useful by compacting them in a bottle to make an ecobrick. We will then build structures with these bricks,” says Jeanette McGlynn, a club member and first-year environmental sciences student in the wildlife and fisheries conservation major.
Ecobricks are popular in other parts of the world, including South Africa where they have been used to build schools and houses. This plastic building material can also be used to build tables, planters and other items. The Enviro Club plans to create and collect enough ecobricks over the summer to build a couch in the fall.
“Generally when people recycle, they get that feel good feeling. What is cool about this recycling project is that they will see what they’ve made with it,” says McGlynn, an international student who came to Lakeland from England.
A completed ecobrick should weigh one third of the volume of the bottle and should feel like a solid brick. Instructions for making an ecobrick are available on Lakeland College’s app and the School of Environmental Sciences Facebook page.
According to statistics shared by the Enviro Club:
- Plastic products around the world amounted to 335 million metric tons in 2016, of which half were single-use items.
- Worldwide, approximately four trillion plastic bags are used each year – only one per cent is recycled.
- Every year, 78 million tons of plastic packaging is produced; 32 per cent of it ends up in oceans, which is the same as dumping one garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.