Denny woman hopes to build an ecobricking community

A Denny woman is hoping others will join her in creating ecobricks out of non-recycleable plastics.

By Fiona Dobie
Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 3:54 pm
Jan Harrisonwants to encourage others to build ecobricks.  Picture: Michael Gillen.
Jan Harrisonwants to encourage others to build ecobricks. Picture: Michael Gillen.

Jan Harrison began transforming her plastic waste into something useful in the summer.

Ecobricks – plastic bottles of all sizes stuffed with small pieces of plastic that would otherwise go to landfill as they cannot be recycled – can be used to build many items, including buildings in some countries.

Jan (63), who first saw the initiative on a news programme, said: “The council are urging people to take more responsibility for recycling and this is exactly how we all can.

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“Something about the news feature caught my imagination. I researched it and before I knew where I was I was actually doing it.

“It’s using soft plastics that are not recycleable. I honestly think I’ve reduced these plastics by as much as 95 per cent.”

Once the bottle is full, and reaches a minimum weight requirement, it is then logged as a completed ecobrick online.

“With my first attempt at making one, which was a failure, I sat for hours with a plastic bottle and a wooden spoon,” she explained.

“You have to clean and dry the plastic, then you cut it into small pieces – fortunately I enjoy the whole process – I find the cutting up very therapeutic. Then you have to stuff the bottle.

“There’s a minimum weight the bottle has to be – my first one was 30g short.

“There was no way I was going to get any more in, so I emptied the plastic onto the floor and started again – I eventually managed to stuff more in to reach the weight.

“I’m now 14 bottles down the line. The first six were just as difficult as the last, but now it’s not taking as long to do.”

Jan is doing a course so she can teach people and is hoping to run workshops in ecobricking locally in the future.

She said: “There are not many ecobrickers in this area and I’d like to try and get a little community built up – wouldn’t it be marvellous if we could get a little community going and make Falkirk the ecobricking capital of Scotland.

“I’d love to get people together to work on a community project, building indoor furniture or something like that with the bricks.

“Half of my family think I’m just bonkers, but I want to normalise the process.

“I’d encourage people to look at the GoBrik website and not to do their own thing as by doing your own thing you are less likely to build a quality ecobrick.

“I think people will try it and you’ll either love it or hate it.”