“Eco Bricks”: Building a Sustainable Future

May 28, 2024 | Environmental Service | 0 comments

It is more significant at a time when the global population continues to deal with the accumulation of plastic in the environment. These practices are everywhere today, but arguing about sustainable practices is a necessity to help future generations. In the fight against the excessive use of plastic products and the lack of proper disposal, many environmental enthusiasts have come up with the concept known today as eco-bricks: tightly packed plastic bottles containing non-biodegradable waste that can be used as construction material. This approach not only tackles the issue of plastics that pollute the environment when disposed of but also material construction solutions that are friendly to the environment. By appreciating the potential of eco-bricks, the Rotaract Club of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura through the Environmental Service Avenue initiated the “Eco Brick” project to address such challenges concerning plastics pollution and the powerless crusade for sustainability.

The “Eco Bricks” project was meticulously planned and executed in six distinct phases, each with a specific objective aimed at addressing different aspects of plastic waste management. The journey began with Phase 01; Beach Cleanup. On 5th May 2024, volunteers gathered at Mount Lavinia Beach at 7.30 am, equipped with gloves and bags, ready to clean the shores. The theme, “Collecting Plastic Waste to Build a Sustainable Future,” set the tone for the initiative. This phase focused on raising awareness about marine pollution while collecting plastic waste to be transformed into eco-bricks. Building on the momentum of the beach cleanup, Part 02 of Phase 01: Street Cleanup was launched on 12th May 2024. With the theme “Polythene and Plastic Cleanups #2,” volunteers expanded their efforts to urban areas, covering Maharagama, Pamunuwa, and Pannipitiya. This phase aimed to engage more community members in the cleanup efforts and highlight the pervasive issue of plastic waste in everyday environments.

Phase 02 of the Eco Bricks project culminated in a highly informative and engaging virtual webinar titled “Building a Sustainable Future: harnessing Eco Bricks to Reduce Plastic Waste”. On the 06th of May, 2024 at 7:30 pm, a webinar was conducted using the Google Meet platform and the guest speaker was Mrs. Kanchana Dilrukshi Kumari Weerakoon, the founder and president of Eco-Friendly Volunteers, Sri Lanka (ECO-V). Mrs. Weerakoon, a prominent advocate for environmental sustainability, shared invaluable insights on the significance of eco-bricks and their role in reducing plastic waste. The webinar provided a platform for participants to deepen their understanding of sustainable practices and explore innovative solutions for waste management. This phase of the project not only reinforced the importance of community involvement but also inspired attendees to embrace eco-bricks as a viable tool for building a greener future.

A transformative moment in the project emerged during Phase 03, as we successfully converted collected waste materials from Phase 01 into eco-bricks. It was conducted on 08th May 2024 at Handawilla, University of Sri Jayewardenepura and the event started at 8.30 am, this phase was themed “Turning Waste into Wonders” Volunteers came together and packed the collected waste in plastic bottles to make eco-bricks. This activity explained how plastic waste can be tackled practically and showcased the viability of using eco-bricks as construction material. This operation of converting waste into something more useful is a good manifestation of creativity and creativity.

Encouraging innovation and creativity, Phase 04, titled “Eco Innovate Sustainable Waste Management Idea Competition,” focused on encouraging participants to think of out-of-the-box ideas for waste elimination. The competition offered an opportunity for the exchange and dissemination of information as well as creating awareness of the core value of sustainable development. They shared their ideas for the project, inspiring the participants to develop creative ideas and support environmental initiatives that went beyond the construction itself. Idea Competition, held on Zoom on the 20th of May 2024 at 5 pm, our esteemed judge panel included Prof. M.I.M Mowjood, an expert in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Peradeniya, and Dr. Dulan Jayasekara, a dedicated Zoology lecturer from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.

The transformative power of eco-bricks was showcased in Phase 05; “Bricks to Bed”. On 19th May 2024, at Sucharithodya Niwasaya, Maharagma, starting at 8.30 am, the theme “Transforming Waste into Sustainable Bedding” was accomplished. To give a practical application of the eco-bricks, bedding areas were made in green areas to demonstrate how they can be pragmatic and beautiful. This phase signaled the project’s goal of converting waste into value and beautifying the community. That the plastic waste was turned into something that has purpose and aesthetic appeal was a clear representation of the project.

In Phase 06 through engaging posts and informative videos, we explored crucial topics such as the impact of plastic waste on the environment, the innovative 10R Initiative, and the practical benefits of eco-bricks. The posts discussed the dire situation of Sri Lanka’s plastic waste crisis and highlighted the transformative potential of eco-bricks. At the same time, the video series provided a comprehensive overview of the project, demonstrated how to create eco-bricks, and showcased their various applications. By combining on-the-ground cleanup efforts with an educational campaign, this final phase effectively promoted community involvement and awareness, reinforcing the project’s overarching goal of sustainable waste management and environmental stewardship.

These six phases in conclusion, were achieved by the Rotaract Club of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura during the implementation of the ‘Eco Bricks’ project which not only focused on the problem of plastic waste, but also the way it affected the community and ways to prevent it. This project serves as an example of the impact and importance of cooperation and the ability to look at the problem from a new angle and come up with a new solution. As the “Eco Bricks” project translates waste into reusable property and encourages environmentally friendly actions, the initiative should be seen as a ray of hope and a perfect example of the people’s responsibility to protect the environment.

Written by: Rtr. Thamudi Imalka

Graphic design by: Rtr. Dinithma Pasangi

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