In a time when people are making every effort to conserve energy and still live comfortably, the scientific notebook that holds the information to make sustainable bricks from plastic bottles is most welcome. As convenient as plastic is, it is a menace to the oceans and the wildlife that lives there. Even on land, it fills the landfills endlessly. The very idea that it might possibly be used to build homes or other structures is enough to rouse interest.
Plastic Replaces Sand
When bricks are made, sand is used as their filler. Combined with cement and water, the sand makes a durable material with which to build homes that are structurally low maintenance. Rosana Gaggino and the National Council of Scientific and Technological Research came up with a process that allows the bricks to be built by combining polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic with cement, rather than sand. If the plastic particles were not put to a specific use, it would take around 500 years for them to decompose.
Benefits of Using Plastic in Bricks
Other than the benefit to the planet, the information found in the engineering notebooks offers faster, more direct benefits to people in general. While this method recycles plastic bottles to the tune of 20 bottles for every brick, it also provides better insulation for homes than the traditional bricks that are used to create structures for humans to live in. In fact, they hold heat up to five times more effectively than bricks built with sand.
The ripple effect is overwhelming. Not only does the plastic get reused and kept out of the landfills, but erosion from the use of sand and dirt is also reduced. At the same time, it will take less energy to heat the homes that rely on these “ecological” bricks for their construction. On top of that, a concept not yet addressed in the engineering notebooks is that the plastic may even hold up longer than the sand, meaning that less maintenance is necessary even in the long run. Of course, the only way to test that theory is over time, but, given the decomposition rate of the plastic, it would seem sound enough.
Other Uses for Plastic
Considering that the government has already approved the use of these ecological bricks in government-owned homes, it would seem likely that they will be more inclined now to approve the allocation of funds for more research into other areas where plastic might be useful.
It is unclear how the expense of the ecological bricks compares to the expense of traditional bricks when it comes to the purchase price. Yet now is the time to think about more than just today and, instead, start thinking about the future. If methods like this are not used in large quantities very soon, survival itself may become a struggle, and there won’t be any time or people to fill those notebooks with new ideas. Reusing plastic can’t stop at pens made out of recycled plastic when there are so many benefits to bigger projects, like homes made out of ecological bricks.