Eco bricks - with Faisal Abdur Rani
When ocean plastics first came up on my personal radar - I heard the following number over and over again: 3 million tons plastic waste entering the ocean each year. At that rate we will have more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050.
And then I started taking notice of the pictures. Corals entangled with plastic bags. Beautiful beaches covered in PET bottles. And then next thing I found out was that plastic breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, ultimately feeding toxins into our own food chain.
I can still remember when and where I was when I first saw the picture of the turtle with a plastic straw being remove from its nose. I don't consider myself highly sensitive but that seemed so wrong.
I am the type of person who sees a problem and reaches for the nearest search engine. I had a quick trawl for solutions.
And I found plenty of them. Of course, no single solution works without some drawback or limitation- each had a fatal flaw that prevents it from being the silver bullet that will solve the plastic crisis. The solution that so many people are searching for.
Something, that I learnt, was that most experts seem to agree on, is the 3r framework - reduce, recycle, reuse
A solution can be assessed by whether or not it fits the framework.
Things like calculating your personal plastic footprint get the thumbs up because it supports reducing part of the 3r's
Solutions like biodegradable-plastics fit none of the 3r's and might be regarded with skepsis
Along the way, I heard about this solution called - Eco bricks. The name sounded familiar - some kind of environmentally tolerable building block, I supposed
I was curious and wanted to find out more
According to the internet, an Eco brick is a plastic bottle packed tightly, and the emphasis here is tightly, with plastic waste.
The Eco brick can be used as a component in building structures such as walls or even furniture.
I found an excellent resource at ecobricks.org which has a fun and interactive app for getting involved in the international Eco brick movement
I was lucky enough to find someone who could help me with a few of the questions I had about Eco bricks
Faisal Abdur Rani is the Program Director of Impactlution Malaysia which manages the activities of Eco bricks in Malaysia
He organizes beach clean-ups, river clean-ups and urban clean-ups and is a zero-waste practitioner
He is a trained chemical engineer from Montana state university and worked previously in the oil and gas industry
Eco bricks is a technology and Faisal has a deep understanding of how to apply it - and not just in an engineering sense but also how Eco bricks can be used as an educational tool
Faisal, you have a lot of experience with Eco bricks: what is an Eco brick?
Faisal Abdur Rani
An Eco brick is a plastic bottle packed with single use plastic. Non-recyclables are packed into the bottle.
Ok I want to make an Eco brick. I have a plastic water bottle. I have washed and dried some plastic packaging - what next?