How to make ecological bricks with plastic bottles

Green bricks are very important for green architecture. There are ecological bricks made of many different materials and their benefits can also be different, but they all have some advantages in common at an environmental and sustainability level. One type of material recently used to make eco-friendly bricks is plastic bottles.

Although some companies already sell them in more elaborate formats, having processed the plastic to turn it into brick or billet, they can also be made at home, reusing a large amount of plastic.

What are ecological bricks or eco-bricks

Bricks are usually a polluting material since, among other things, they require a lot of energy to manufacture, so their environmental impact is important. This does not happen in those ecological bricks also called ecobricks . However, its use today is very rare, although historically more sustainable materials have been used in construction.

There are more and more ecological initiatives that aim to reinvent or replace traditional bricks using sustainable materials or promote greater sustainability that helps us save energy or even reduce our carbon footprint . Among these initiatives are the manufacture of bricks from plastic bottles .

Therefore, ecological bricks are those bricks manufactured from materials or through manufacturing processes that do not involve as important an environmental impact as that of conventional bricks. Within the ecological bricks , there are some more ecological than others according to their sustainability in various aspects. These bricks can offer us the same or greater resistance than conventional bricks and even offer the same advantages in comfort and safety.

Advantages of ecological bricks compared to traditional ones

Since there are multiple materials that are used in the manufacture of green bricks, the advantages also vary from one to another. Therefore, we must choose one that suits our needs and preferences. However, we can point out some advantages of ecological bricks compared to traditional ones . First we mention the benefits of various types of eco-firendly or eco-bricks and not only of plastics, then we specify those of the latter.

Advantages of ecological bricks

  • Savings, both by acquiring or manufacturing them by hand and by saving energy they generate
  • In some cases, more insulation capacity from humidity, noise, heat or cold.
  • Lower environmental impact and greater preservation of ecosystems and biodiversity that favors the manufacture of many of them.
  • They are lighter and, in this way, reduce construction times and the effort of workers.

Advantages of ecological plastic bricks

Specifically, brick made of plastic bottles has some advantages compared to conventional clay brick, such as:

  • They provide thermal insulation up to five times higher than conventional bricks.
  • Its greater thermal insulation allows the construction of walls of less thickness. Thus, instead of building walls up to 30 cm, they can be built 15 cm.
  • They are lighter than traditional bricks, weighing up to one kilogram less.
  • They have good resistance to fire. Its results in flame propagation tests group it in class RE 2, which is a very low propagation material.
  • It is ecological, since its raw material is recycled plastic waste.
  • Fertile soil is not used in its manufacture, so it does not contribute to soil desertification.
  • This type of brick can be molded with a manual machine and does not require firing in large ovens, so it does not contribute to atmospheric pollution or the felling of trees to obtain the necessary firewood.

As you can see, they are a great option if you are thinking of building your own house or a building in the area where you live for the community.

Ecoinclusión, the driving force behind plastic ecobricks

The Cordoba foundation (Córdoba, Argentina), Ecoinclusion, has developed an idea for the manufacture of ecological bricks from the recycling of plastic bottles . Ecoinclusión is a non-profit organization created in 2014 by three friends, who combined their concerns to help social inclusion and local ecology. This project already has the support of the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET) of Argentina.

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) from disposable plastic containers is used in its manufacture , in combination with a cement used as a binder and a chemical additive that facilitates adherence between plastic particles and cement. By means of these bricks it is possible to reuse significant amounts of plastic, since about 20 disposable plastic bottles are used in each brick.

If you have decided that you want to make eco-bricks to build your house or a community building in your town or residential area to collaborate with the care of the environment, among other aspects, try following these steps:

  1. Gather as many plastic bottles as possible, clean them and keep their caps as well.
  2. Start filling the bottles with all the plastic material you can find. Usually anything thrown into the yellow bin will do , including plastic stoppers and aluminum or silver foil.
  3. Go pushing the materials for the filling to the bottom with the help of a long stick, as the eco-brick must be well compact.
  4. Keep filling and squeezing the materials until the bottle is completely full and close it with its cap. Thus, the billet will be ready and you will have to do the same process to do all the ones you require.

How to make a green brick block

Once you have all the amount of homemade plastic eco – bricks ready , you can start making the building blocks . Depending on the objective and size of the construction, you can use the billets directly and join them in the process of raising the building or, you can make large blocks and then join them, which is ideal for large constructions.

  1. Prepare a wooden rectangle to make the mold of the block of the measurements you need. Typically, 7 bottles wide by 3 high are used.
  2. Make a cement mix.
  3. Place the eco-bricks in the mold and pour the cement into the spaces to fill.
  4. Wait for it to dry completely, for this you may have to wait all day, more or less time, as it will depend on the climate of the place where it is being built. Therefore, it is recommended to make more than one mold to be able to prepare more than one block at the same time and speed up the process as much as possible.
  5. Once everything is dry, remove the block from the mold. You are now ready for constitution.

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