Plastic wrappers – they’re on everything! From crisp packets to bags of chopped apples, chocolate bars to the cling film wrapping on vegetables in the shops, it’s hard to avoid it. And where does most of it end up? In the dump.

5th class came across a very interesting project being run by Seal Rescue Ireland. They were turning old fizzy drink bottles into ‘ecobricks’ by stuffing them full of soft plastics until they became really solid. Ms Pigott also showed us a really cool wall in Guatemala. A school in San Marcos La Laguna on Lake Atitlán in Guatemala had made hundreds of ecobricks and had used them to build walls!

This wall in San Marcos La Laguna was built using ecobricks. If you zoom in you can actually see where they left a small portion of the wall exposed and you can spot some ecobricks.

5th class have been trialing flexible seating in the classroom. This means there are loads of different types of seats in our classroom and we make our own choices about what types of seats work for us e.g. sitting at on the floor at a low table, standing at a tall table or sitting on stools. We decided to try add to our range of seats by creating our own ecobricks and using them to add to the furniture in use in the classroom.

It wasn’t quite as easy as it seemed. Making the ecobricks was trickier than we thought – and it was a workout for our arms as we pushed in all the plastic! However, we learnt from our mistakes along the way. For instance, we discovered that big pieces of plastic weren’t the best – it was too hard to compact them down into the bottle. Finally we had four completed ecobricks.

We used the ecobricks to create a stool which we displayed at our science fair.

Our stool made from ecobricks on display at the science fair – with a cushion added for some comfort!

At the fair we also gave students and parents the chance to have a go at making ecobricks.

Infants having a go at making ecobricks

We had some really interesting discussions as we made the ecobricks – I think we were shocked at the amount of soft plastics we were able to accumulate when we were starting the project and asked people to bring in their soft plastic waste. We realised how much plastic is being binned by each one of us – and how quickly it adds up into a very large amount. We also talked about how we can reuse things to create something new, giving it a second life so it doesn’t end up in the dump.

Post Author: Nicola Pigott