13 August 2014

The Eco-brick

We recently visited a friend and found her kitchen counters "littered" with 2 L soft drink bottles, filled with colourful bits of plastic.  Curious, we just had to ask....

Eco-bricks! Yes, all over the world, people are filling 2 L bottles with plastic bags and plastic rubbish, that would otherwise end up as landfill.  These bricks are then used in a special, but very simple building method, to build structures. So far schools, community centres and structures like benches and park equipment have been built.  In Port Elizabeth, South Africa a preschool is being built.

Yes, we understand that this plastic still does not decompose, but it is much safer than being loose and possibly blowing into our water sources and the ocean, where it damages the wildlife.  I know that sometimes plastic is recycled, but I am not too sure how healthy that is, I mean surely some of those fumes are emmitted in the process and also, what about the resources used to run those factories.  Of course the aim is to buy less plastic but I find that a real problem in South Africa.  I am tempted at times to leave all the unneccesary wrappings at the counter!

I feel better about the fact that that my garbage is taking up less space.  We used to fill about two garbage bags a week.  This way, my garbage is compressed in to the eco-brick, and takes up far less space. The aim is to get the brick as heavy as you can.  Our first one was 340 g.  We are slowly putting less and less out for muncipal collection as we learn of new ways to reduce, re-use, recycle.

Joel and Emma gladly joined in, and Joel has been responsible for ramming the plastic in.  He does it very effectively with a wooden dowel.  They both made signs at our dustbin so that we would remember not to throw away the plastic.

So, would you like to join the ecobrick challenge?  Google and find out where the nearest place is that will take your ecobricks and get making yours.

Frogs and snails ...

As Joel is very interested in all natural things, but especially frogs, we embarked on a pond building project this week.  We are far from finished, but it was great fun.  No amphibians have moved yet, and we wait in anticipation.

We chose to simply dig a hole, and line it with heavy PVC plastic, rather than lay in a cemented pond, as we are renting here.  As you may be able to see from the photo, the soil here is extremely sandy, so all around the edge we placed rocks.  We will have to fill up the gaps with some good garden soil from elsewhere.  Then I look forward to planting some lovely plants around it.  I would like to plant ferns and get some aquatic plants.  We would like these to all be indigeous, in order to attract our local hoppers.

We have seen many varieties of frogs here, even tree frogs.  I didn't even know South Africa had tree frogs!  They come in a variety of colours and some have gorgeous patterns.  I must get a photo of them.

Yesterday morning Joel found this snail... in his shower cubicle! He took great interest in it, you can head over to his blog and read all about it.