The EcoBrick Exchange (EBE for short) is an environment awareness enterprise that facilitates the construction of preschools in South African Townships using unrecyclable plastic waste material. What is an EcoBrick you may be wondering: Made by simply compressing plastic waste into 2L plastic bottles, EcoBricks are a low cost and highly insulating building material. Since they were first used in Central America various systems have been developed to package EcoBricks into walls so that they are water and fire-proof.
The project simultaneously addresses two problems:
- The shortage of quality early education in South African townships.
- Poor waste management and pollution at a domestic level.
EcoBricks form a ‘carbon negative’ construction technique as they require far greater volumes of plastic than a single community can produce and thus use surrounding communities plastic. This means that the environment is protected from vast amounts of harmful material.
The system of construction that we have developed (together with a team of built environment specialists) allows the walls to be in themselves fully recyclable. This means that if alterations are ever required then the environment is saved from the usual building rubble that usually results from alterations, as all the material from the EcoBrick walls can be reused. We consider the EcoBrick to be the gate-way drug of the recycling industry habit as, when people see how the habit halves their waste output, they are encouraged to recycle all that they possibly can.