Encouraging Kids’ Awareness to Save the Planet by Making Ecobricks
By : Komang Sierrafany Surya Libhi
The human population has been increasing every year. This is equal to the increase in plastic waste. Plastic waste, especially plastic bottles, needs thousands of years to decompose. This creates giant mounds of bottles on the earth’s surface (Manisha & Singh, 2017). As human beings, we need to do something to save the earth from plastic waste. One of the things we can do is making ecobricks. Since it does not need machines, special skills, or experts, an eco-brick can be created by all ages, including the young, the old, and the people in between.
It is a great thing to teach the kids to be aware of the planet’s health from a young age (Palupi, Wahyuningsih, Widyastuti, Nurjanah, & Pudyaningtyas, 2019). Making an eco-brick can be the start to maintain their awareness. There are several tips to follow in making ecobricks with the kids, based on those specified by The Global Ecobrick Alliance (n.d.). Here are the tips!
First, we start saving, separating, cleaning, and drying the plastic wastes. As ecobricks are made with clean and dry plastic, separate the plastics from other materials. Dirty plastics will cause microorganisms to grow inside the eco brick. Make sure that the plastics are clean by washing them. Then, wait until the plastics are dry. Using wet plastics is not suggested as it will also lead to the growth of microorganisms. Keeping the plastics dry is very essential.
Second, decide the type of plastic bottle. It is important to select the same type and size of the bottle. It helps to create strong ecobricks. We have to ensure that all the plastic bottles used have the same type and size.
Third, prepare your stick. The stick will be used to push the plastic wastes into the bottle. Bamboo or wood are the best kinds of sticks to use. Use a stick that is about twice the bottle’s height. Avoid using a sharp stick since it can rupture the bottles.
Fourth, do not put metal, glass, paper, and organic materials into the bottles. This will help secure them from getting loose and from degrading into micro plastics and toxins. We do not need to secure things like metal, glass, paper, and organic materials as they will not break down into toxins. Besides, sharp glass and metal are not included in the ecobricks as they can rupture the side of the bottle.
Fifth, let us pack the bottle. Before putting the plastics inside the bottle, we should cut them into smaller pieces. When they are ready, fill the bottle with loose plastic. After the plastics fill the bottle half way, push them down using the stick. Add more loose plastics when the previous ones were already compressed. It will be good to combine soft then hard plastic to maintain the density.
Sixth, check the weight of your ecobricks to make sure of the quality. The quality of the eco brick comes from the weight vs. volume. GEA (Global Eco brick Alliance) standardizes the eco brick’s density to be higher than 0.33 g/ml; meaning that the weight of a 600ml bottle must be above 200 grams and a 1500ml bottle must weigh more than 500 grams. If the ecobricks are below 0.33 g/ml, they are not suitable for earth building. Do not forget to cap the bottle after the weight is ideal. Ensure that the plastics inside are not overflowing.
Seventh, leave a note on the side of the bottle. Before writing the description, you can record information such as the ecobricker’s name, the bottle’s weight, and the date and year it was made. When you are ready, you can start writing the information on the side of the bottle. Using oil paint, nail polish, or permanent marker is highly suggested as the writing tools.
Eighth, store your ecobricks and get ready to build. Until you have enough ecobricks for your project, you need to store them. To avoid sunlight, it is better to put them indoors. Once your ecobricks are enough, you can start building with the kids!
In making the ecobricks, the kids will really need assistance. We must be ready to help them from the first step. Since this is a long term life habit that we and the kids are beginning, let us be sure to start ecobricking correctly.
Global Eco brick Alliance (n.d.). 10 steps Guide to Making an Ecobrick. https://www.ecobricks.org/how/
Manisha & Singh (2017). Investigating Strength and Properties of Ecoladrillo: Ecobricks.
International Journal of Civil Engineering and Technology (IJCIET). 8(7). http:// http://iaeme.com/Home/issue/IJCIET?Volume=8&Issue=7
Palupi, Wahyuningsih, Widyastuti, Nurjanah, & Pudyaningtyas (2019). The Use of Eco brick as A Learning Medium for Early Childhood. DEDIKASI: Community Service Report. 1(1). DOI: 10.20961/dedikasi.v2i1.37624