GEORGE NEWS - The George Municipality's environmental services section has started an ecobrick project in the hope of reducing litter in the streets and waste at the refuse site. At the same time, primary school learners are being taught how to create infrastructure like benches and tables on their school grounds.
An ecobrick is a plastic bottle filled up so tightly with plastic waste that it is quite hard and resistant to breaking and denting. Ecobricks are used like clay bricks with cement.
"Ecobricks alleviate pressure from landfill sites and teach residents that the trash littering their streets actually holds value," says Walter Hendricks, director of community services. "We are focusing on primary schools, but although they are our first priority, crèches that want to become involved will also be accommodated."
A team of four environmental educators demonstrate ecobrick-making and building methods at the schools. Their first demonstration was held at Holy Cross Primary in December, where they built a bench. The educators' other task is to go out into the community to educate people about illegal dumping and littering.
Hendricks invites the public to take part in the ecobrick initiative. Anyone can make ecobricks and drop them off at the environmental services office at 82 Meade Street. The bricks will be used for building projects at schools. It is an ongoing project.
Making an ecobrick
Ecobricks can be made with various sizes of plastic bottles that are stuffed to the brim with plastic. The bottle is screwed closed and then used as a building brick. The department's ecobrick project focuses on two-litre bottles because a consistent size is required for the building projects they envision at schools.
Suitable materials to make ecobricks include laminated paper, photos and transparencies, polystyrene trays, plastic fruit punnets, silvery packets from chips and chocolates, wax paper and dog-food bags.
The items are cut up and pushed into the bottle using a stick about twice the length of the bottle. It must be packed tightly so that the ecobrick weighs between 400 and 500 grams.
For more information, contact the department on 044 802 2900.
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