EcoBricks

There is more plastic in the ocean than ever before, but plastic production isn’t slowing down. Over 99% of plastics come from chemicals sourced from oil and gas production – contributing massively to climate change. There are lots of easy ways you can cut down your single-use plastic, but what should you do with the plastic that you can’t avoid? Ecobricks are an ethical way of using up the plastic that can’t be recycled and won’t break down.

What is an ecobrick? An ecobrick is created by filling a plastic bottle with clean, dry plastic until it’s packed tightly and can be used as a building block.

What are ecobricks used for? The plastic in an ecobrick is very durable and will never break down, making it an ideal building material. They’re used in developing countries to construct furniture and even buildings.   In South Africa there are many sustainable construction projects underway, including outdoor classrooms, and community gardens.

What are the advantages of ecobricks? Ecobricks are a great way to recycle plastic that doesn’t break down and would most likely end up in landfill, or worse, the ocean. But there are lots of other great things about ecobricks:

  • Plastic is actually a very useful material – we’re just producing too much of it and disposing of it in an unsustainable way. The characteristics that make plastic so difficult to dispose of – its durability, longevity and water resistance – also make it a brilliant building material.
  • They encourage you to reduce your plastic waste. As you see how much rubbish you put in an ecobrick, you’ll see how much you’re throwing away. This can help you cut down on what you’re buying and ultimately produce less waste.

How do you make an ecobrick?

  1. Choose a bottle. Any size bottle will work as an ecobrick, but the average size tends to be between 500ml to 2L. You should also make sure that you’re using a bottle from a product that you use regularly – you don’t want to end up having to buy a plastic bottle just to make an ecobrick!
  2. Prepare your plastic. Any plastic that you put in your brick needs to be clean and dry – any dirt can lead to microbiological growth and methane forming inside your brick. If you put dirty plastic inside your ecobrick it can make the bottle bloat and the cap can even pop off.
  3. Get a stick. You’ll need a stick to poke the plastic in your bottle down so you can fit as much as possible in! A wooden spoon handle will work best, and it should have a rounded tip to make sure it doesn’t pierce the bottle when you are squashing the plastic down.
  4. Be careful not to overfill your brick. Although your brick should be packed full of plastic, it shouldn’t be pushing against the lid because it could end up making the lid come off. The brick will be very strong though.  It will be impossible for your to squash it even a little bit with your hands. 

What plastics can you put in your ecobrick?

  • Plastic bags
  • Photo paper
  • Crisp packets
  • Food containers
  • Straws
  • Cling film
  • Plastic fruit and vegetable packaging like the nets and sleeves.
  • Polystyrene (or Styrofoam) – this is a petroleum-based product that can’t be recycled. Lots of products are made out of this including food containers and packaging.

Don’t forget that you can always cut up plastic to go in your ecobrick, even if it seems too big.

Can black plastic be recycled?

In short, yes, black plastic can be recycled. However, most local councils don’t actually offer black plastic recycling. This is because it’s quite tricky to sort black plastics from other materials.

So, should you include black plastic in your ecobrick? Yes – because unless you are 100% sure that your local council can and are recycling black plastic, the chances are that it will end up in the ocean.

Good luck and happy building!

A Change is as good as a rest.

I read recently that  ladies who have regular chats and outings with other ladies are far more relaxed and less reliant on drugs in times of need. I was speaking to a lady last week who has these kinds chats with three  friends, all known to each other for about 20 years. At their regular chats they each bring ‘something’ to swap with the other members. Each meeting they decide what the next swap should be, e.g. scarves, hats, books, shoes, handbags NOT husbands though!!!

The lady I spoke to related that they all benefited from the exchange of ideas, the thoughts and the  laughs and the swap item of the monthly meetings. This seems to me to be an ideal modern therapy. I myself went to my regular monthly book club meeting last week where the conversation ranged from, a recipe for a Canadian Pudding Cake to items in our handbags, one seventy year old proudly showing us her penknife, which we all thought highly dangerous. I left the meeting enthused and positive with a spring in my step.

So if you feel that a change will do you some good, just gather a few people around for a cup of tea and see what transpires.

Sadly not all change is so good. I went to the Library this morning  and looked around the display of the sadness caused by being forced out of your home and community, please go and look at the display

 

 

Comfort Zone

This week I  got myself out of my comfort zone, found myself  in uncharted waters. I did recover and  felt totally enthused about life and gave myself a new view on which to look at the world around me. Maybe we all need to do this once in a while, take yourself out of the norm, and see a different perspective.

I have been thinking on how I can give more to the people around me, what can I give to Maidenhead where I am fortunate to live near. I can volunteer to do some litter picking or help at the Library, gosh the list can be endless

How about you get out of your comfort zone sometime soon and see the world from  a different place?.

New Year |Thoughts.

Recently I attended the funeral of my Dear Friend Clive, I had told my children of his passing who all said don’t be silly he will last for ever, well he didn’t and I won’t and nor will you. At the Crematorium where the Service was to be held, I reflected on the last time I had seen Clive,  what did we chat about, it was about life, as always with him, and the birds that he had seen lately on his many bird feeders

This has made me think more about life, how we are not here for ever and that we should all make the very best of each day, so in the oven I have a chocolate cake cooking, made from items that were all in my cupboards, I shall take this to my grand daughters birthday party for the parents to enjoy. I shall look to see what else is hiding in the back of the cupboards that I can make use of. I am not alone in thinking that I must pop out to the shops to get some vital ingredient only to find later that I do have exactly that at the back of the shelf.

I have stopped hoarding NOW I am making use of everything I have, so my cupboards will be raided, what I do not really like will be taken to the charity shop, someone must like that ceramic monkey given to me ages ago, or used by me in a different way. I am going to think how I can inventive. remembering reuse, recycle, rethink, relove.

I am also going to use local shops, I went to the Marlow bookshop yesterday and the service I received was excellent, nothing like the click, click of online shopping, they spoke to me, shared their thoughts on my book I had chosen which I then purchased and have started already,

 

To finish, something I saw recently ‘think hips before chips’

 

Happy New Year.

Christmas Presents

Reading through today’s newspapers we are bombarded with gifts ideas. Some items selling for ‘only’ £10.00 or £20.00. Well you don’t have to buy presents for ‘only’ 10 or 20 pounds, give your time and energy, so special to the recipient.

I have a daughter with a nearly three year old and a baby of five months, She needs help with the washing as she lives in a first floor flat with no tumble dryer, so she is getting 12 paper vouchers from me for help with the washing and ironing, wrapped in a pretty box that I received in the summer and I have saved.

I have another daughter, also with a six month baby, she has to go back to work so she is getting 12 vouchers for days  when the baby is not able to go to daycare. I will dash over and help, maybe bring the baby home or more likely stay and do some housework,  these again wrapped in a pretty box.

These two presents, which are worth their weight in gold, on the days when needed, I shall of course do what I have always done, wrap up a chocolate orange, the old favorites are still there.

I shall be off to the charity shop tomorrow to see what I can find for my husband !! Maybe i’ll see you there.

pb. 9.12.18

 

 

 

 

Prime Minister supports Maidenhead Challenging Plastic

Prime Minister and Maidenhead MP Theresa May supported the work of Maidenhead Challenging Plastic in a special visit last week.

Visiting The Green Parrot, the PM filled up her reusable bottle and found out more about Refill, a national scheme that the cafe has signed up too.

More than 20 establishments across Maidenhead have signed up to the scheme.

Later, the PM and Mr May visited Saints Cafe to see how the business is using less single use plastic as well as participating in Refill.

Donna Stimson, co-leader of Maidenhead Challenging Plastic, said: “With the environmental challenges we face this initiative is so welcome in Maidenhead, everyone wants to see a cleaner town and less single use plastic.”

Thanks to the Maidenhead Advertiser for covering the visit!

 

Prime Minister shows her support for Maidenhead Matters

by D Stimson

The Prime Minister showed her support for Maidenhead Matters at Conservative Party Conference last week, attending a discussion about how we are reducing single use plastic and encouraging recycling.

And celebrating her birthday, we gave the PM her very own reusable water bottle – complete with a Maidenhead Matters sticker!

Thank you to the Prime Minister for taking time out of her busy schedule to meet with us!

You can read the article in the Maidenhead Advertiser below:

More Encouragement & Less Shaming

by R Millns

I have spent the last few weeks talking a lot about plastic and recycling.

I have read plenty of articles and a number of people have started to talk to me only about plastic and recycling… someone even apologised to me for having a plastic bag! I had not even noticed.

I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say that I do not stride around lecturing anyone – we all use a bit of foil – and we all feel guilty putting wrappers in the bin because they cannot be recycled.

So, why do some people feel the need to tut and shame others into doing the right thing? One of my students told me it was because people were too busy polishing their halo!

I am not sure about their halo theory but I do know that sharing your ideas and leading by example is a good approach. My friend, Patricia, does exactly this. After all, you catch plenty more bees with honey!

    

The odd potato and carrot ends go into a soup, shredded paper is used for protecting ebay parcels, scraps for her chickens and tupperware for the meat counter.

Got some good ideas of your own? Please email us on mail@maidenheadmatters.com

Food glorious food!!!

By D Stimson

We had a wonderful tea party on Sunday, but hopelessly over-catered.  We made sandwiches and cakes at home, determined not to buy them in as we didn’t want to have to use clingfilm or other single use plastic to keep them fresh from shop to table.  Unfortunately, our exuberance led to too much food.  Fortunately,  Lucy’s kids had a movie night at their school,

so the food was snapped up by hungry teenagers.  I wonder if we aren’t too careful about offering perfectly good food to neighbours if we find we’re left with too much.  The English reserve?  I do it with flowers and produce from my garden all the time – why not with home cooked food?

Speaking of flowers, we had a budget of £30 for 20 arrangements for the tea party, so I made pots out of empty cans covered with wrapping paper, then varnished, and filled them with a combination of home grown and bought flowers.  We were going to raffle them off for £5 a pot, but in the end gave them to special guests and the workers who’d given up their Sundays to make the party a success.

A good day all round!

You need to be more like Teddy…

by N Hutton

Teddy picks up discarded water bottles when out on his walks. It only takes a few Teddy’s (and their pet humans) to pick up one little poop bag full of litter on each walk and soon the countryside looks immaculate.

Its is worth taking a moment to think about. There are walks we go on where there is too much litter. There are others where we go and we don’t see a thing. What’s the difference?

It’s simple, some walkers – with and without dogs – have been along and picked up the litter. No one asked them, no one gave them permission, they just did it! Those people know that the environment is not  just found in footage sent back by David Attenborough. It’s a living breathing place that starts as they step out of their front door. They do not wait for someone else to sort it out, so they do it themselves.

Some people might be put off, here are some common objections:

1.  It would take too much time!

Perhaps if we try to tidy up everything in one go but if we limit ourselves to one just one bag – or poop bag for dog walkers! – of rubbish per walk. It is quite manageable and takes a few extra minutes but it really builds over time. It has a real impact – fast – as long as we are picking litter up faster than the droppers we soon gain on them.

2.  It’s too dirty!

Most of the things we see is packaging. Bottles, cans and crisp packets, the type of things we would pick up if it blew onto our lawn, so treating our walk like our front lawn seems to help. For dog walkers, it’s certainly a lot less smelly than the dog poop we are already picking up!

3.  I can’t bend over after I hurt my back bungee jumping!

If you are keen to clean up your route, then you can grab yourself a litter picker. They cost between £5 and £10 and suit some of our volunteers better and they feel the small investment is worth making for a pleasant, clean walk and is great for picking out litter that has become entangled in the bushes.

4.  I’m too posh to pick!

If the Prime Minister can do it (and Teddy) so can you!

Prime Minister, Theresa May, out on a litter pick.

So, be like Teddy (and the PM), a bag of litter on your daily walk and you never know, you might just bump into Teddy going the other way!