Last week learners and staff at Aberdeen Full Service School were treated to a very interesting and informative talk about ecobricks by local resident and recycling enthusiast Ian Reed. Ecobricks are plastic bottles packed firmly with plastic to create reusable building blocks, and are used to make modular furniture, enclose spaces in gardens, and even build houses.
Reed, an interior designer who retired to Aberdeen just over a year ago from Durban, was very involved in recycling projects in his home town, and was keen to share his passion with the youngsters and their teachers.
All the learners and educators, including the principal, gathered in the hall, and Reed introduced his presentation and demonstration by talking about the problems of plastic pollution. He was pleased to discover that they had already been taught about this, and that the children had already started making some rudimentary ecobricks. He was able to correct some of their misconceptions (for example, that only 2-litre cooldrink bottles could be used), and also explained about the wide variety of waste plastic and polystyrene materials that could be stuffed into the bricks.
Using an empty 2-litre vinegar bottle, with a relatively wide neck, he showed them how not only empty plastic bags, but cut-up hard plastic and polystyrene such as empty margarine tubs and fruit trays, could be used. He also emphasised that the contents of the bottles must pushed in very firmly and compacted, so that the brick will be almost rigid and not able to be squashed.
The school has set up a fenced-off area in the yard in front of the building where empty plastic bottles are being collected. Members of the public are also urged to contribute to this supply – clean plastic bottles of any size, from small cooldrink bottles to 5-litre water containers can all be used in the school’s projects.
One other point that Reed emphasised to the children, concerning waste plastic, was to always snip the small plastic sealing rings on bottles or jars, as these can be very dangerous to wildlife.