|Got this photo here!|
In my research I have been looking at lowering one's environmental foorprint on the road, and others have found ways to make that happen. Solar panels on the roof, compost toilets, remodeling with zero VOC paints, natural fabrics, sustainable counters and flooring. Then there's the reduce/reuse/recycling while on the road: composting, saving recyclables and taking them to the proper facilities, and then there's the trash.
The Eco Womb (they bought the bus from the Janssens, which was formerly the Live Lightly Tourbus....running on veggie oil, sunflower seed countertops, no VOC paints, sustainable flooring: And they do something called Bottle Bricking. It's where you take plastic bottles and stuff them with all of the non-recyclable non-food trash until they are hard like ricks. Then they are used like bricks, to build cob benches (use bottle bricks as infrastructure, then cover with cob).
So I DO think that is an awesome and creative way to use trash and make something beautiful, and I do have a couple of things I am curious about. Plastic bottles, which are stuffed with said trash, are recyclable. Are we not then taking something from the recycling stream and putting it into the waste stream? I love the idea, but I wonder about other ways to expand on this idea without using plastic bottles. Or does the energy used and carbon footprint of recycling said plastic bottles exceed that of landfilling them?
It turns out that in third world countries, the answer is yes, but in first world countries where there are a plethora of recycling facilities, as long as we recycle at least half of them I believe, then recycling is the lesser footprint option. So bottle bricking is an excellent idea in third world countries. For us, we don't use plastic drinking bottles (the most commonly used bottle brick type) - we have glass water bottles and the liquids we drink are water, tea, coconut water and smoothies. So I was thinking, what plastic bottles DO we use? Supplements, for sure. Ketchup and mustard from Trader Joe's....not really much else that I can come up with. But those can all be recycled and reused. However, I do like the idea of using other trash for building materials.
And at any rate, it's definitely a good idea to really be thinking about where our waste goes instead of just "away".