ECO-BRICKS: ThE “WHY” AND THE “HOW”
Did you know that only 9% of plastics created ever get recycled? Statistics abound on the overwhelming amount of plastic pollution across the globe – and how that same waste is negatively affecting the environment. But in addition to cutting down on your personal plastic use and supporting businesses that are #plasticfree, what else can YOU do to help solve this problem?
At RuckusRoots, we’re big on bridging the gap between sustainability and creativity. It’s what we do best! We took on the plastic problem in Los Angeles with our most recent Wild Art program by repurposing plastic bags into paintable canvases with elementary students, but here’s another fun way to creatively utilize your plastic waste – with virtually infinite possibilities!
“Eco-bricks” are, in essence, just plastic bottles filled with all types of plastic waste we can’t recycle (of which there are many!) By turning your bottles and soft plastics into eco-bricks, you’ll be 1) taking waste out of landfills 2) creating with what you already have and 3) keeping plastics away from harming wildlife! Eco-bricks can be used to build all sorts of things like benches, walls, stools, etc., Just think of them like stackable legos! Check out this great link with examples of eco-brick projects if you need inspiration.
Now on to the tutorial…
- plastic bottles
- pressing rod (wooden spoon or chopsticks)
- table or working surface
- soft plastic waste (see suggested list below)
✔️ Gather your materials and cut up plastic waste into strips if you prefer (makes for easier stuffing!)
✔️ Press plastic scraps into the bottle and compress as you go with your pressing rod.
✔️ Fill the bottle as tightly as you can – the more compact, the better!
✔️ Choose how you’d like to utilize your eco-brick(s). There are many places that collect eco-bricks for large projects, or you could start collecting your own stash of eco-bricks for a personal project!
HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF THE TYPES OF MATERIAL YOU CAN PUT IN YOUR BRICKS:
- fruit baskets
- laminated paper
- chip bags
- candy wrappers
- soy sauce packets
- wax paper
- dog food bags
- any soft plastics that can be cleaned and dried!
Check out our IG Reels for a short demo on making these if you need more help. Don’t forget to tag us in your DIYs – we’d love to see what you build with your eco-bricks!
Plastic Bottle Planters
Here’s what you’ll need to make this super easy and eco-friendly planter at home:
- plastic bottles
- acrylic paint
- utility knife or scissors
- googly eyes/feathers/any other decorations you choose
- plants or seeds to sprout
✔️Start by cutting an empty bottle in half, or about 1/3 of the way from the bottom. Parents: you might need to help your little ones with this!
✔️Grab some paint and brush on a few layers to make sure your plastic bottle is fully coated. Let each coat fully dry between layers.
✔️Add googly eyes, feathers, or anything else you’d like to add to your planter with glue. Let it dry.
✔️Once the paint is completely dry, carefully add soil to your new planter and plant your seedling! Add some water – careful not to flood the planter.
✔️Place your planter somewhere sunny, watch your plant grow – and know you helped to give a second life to a piece of plastic!
Check out our IG Reels for a full demo on making these little guys if you need more help! And tag us in your DIYs – we’d love to see what you upcycle!
We just want to take a moment to reflect on the past year, in all of its challenging, chaotic, and confusing lessons and glory. We’ve learned a lot, had some moments of doubt, ultimately pulled through and finished the year on a strong and promising note! That said – we won’t be sad to see 2020 fade into the past and we are overjoyed to ring in 2021 and all that it holds for RuckusRoots and the world at large!
From pivoting in the face of the pandemic to provide online programming to folks across the globe, to looking deeply at our organization and making internal changes to better reflect our core values and mission – we did a lot to be proud of this year.
✔️We expanded our digital offerings to include live, on-demand, and fully downloadable content.
✔️We wrapped up a Wild Art in-school program and successfully installed its culminating project – a mural with over 2,000 repurposed plastic bags on campus.
✔️We filmed our first-ever TV series with Hawthorne Community Television.
✔️We delivered more than 60 bags stocked with sustainable art supplies to families in need this summer and provided online art workshops to accompany these free supplies.
✔️We worked hard to support, employ and learn from artists of color all over the world and give these underrepresented and valuable voices a platform through our channels.
We’re certainly pleased to welcome a new year – don’t get us wrong. There’s A LOT we want to leave behind in 2020. But as always, we are so blessed by all of the support we received this year, and are able to go into 2021 feeling both inspired and awed by the resilience and innovation of the Angelenos we meet through our work this year. Onwards and upwards, as we like to say!
Here’s to a new year of empowering communities, deepening connections and making sustainable creative experiences accessible to all!
Hi RuckusRoots friends and family! It’s time for another program update…
If you’ve been keeping up with us via email or on the ‘gram, you’ll know that our TRASHFORMATION collaboration with FEAST For All went through a bit of an evolution this spring, as we were met with the COVID-19 crisis just one week into the start of the program! Our initial plan was to create an on-site mural installation made from collaged food packaging in our weekly workshops with Teaching Artist, Allegra Bick-Maurischat. As Feast for All’s mission is to make cooking classes, nutritional education and fresh produce accessible to low-income families at their SouthCentral L.A location, we designed a mural inspired by seasonal fruits and veggies for our project with them. But when the pandemic hit Los Angeles mid-March, we quickly canceled these in-person workshops and hopped online!
Our iteration of the above program turned into Food for Thought – a free, weekly Zoom class where Allegra taught different collaging techniques to participants using recycled food packaging as material inspiration. Each week, we had local vegan chef, Carmen Karlsgodt come on to chat with us about a seasonal fruit or vegetable and share a recipe using that item for the participants to try at home with their families. We then focused our creative project for the day using that same fruit or veggie as our inspiration! The kids (and adults) who joined in each week learned to combine creative re-use with traditional design skills like pattern, color and texture into mixed media works of art. At the end of our sessions together, we all had individual Spring/Summer Harvest-of-the-Month Food Calendars featuring items like artichokes, strawberries, cucumbers and more! So much tasty seasonal goodness 😋
While there was certainly a learning curve when it came to moving things online, these workshops quickly became the highlight of our week – providing an opportunity to connect with members of our community and make art together in a new digital space. We had kids and families participating from across the country, friends and supporters dropping in just to say hi and get creative, and new folks joining the workshops up until the last session!
A quick shoutout to our program funders at the California Arts Council and the L.A Department of Cultural Affairs as well as our partner Feast for All! Thanks for all the support as we quickly adjusted to the times, and got this program up and running online! Now, more than ever, we feel very blessed for the ability to continue providing free and accessible programming to our community, and it’s our plan to keep doing just that by bringing you more online content in the coming months.
P.S if you missed these Food for Thought workshops, or just want to continue creating with us at home, Allegra designed these downloadable coloring book pages inspired by artwork from the classes! Each of these six Spring/Summer Harvest-of-the-Month Calendar includes a coloring page and the recipe for that month! Check them out 😉
Check out what one of our high school interns, Anthony, has to say about his experience so far with RuckusRoots…
As part of our RuckusRoots internship, one of our main goals is to reduce waste, become aware about waste consumption and where it goes. We scope out the neighborhood and surrounding areas to look for trash. We identify what type of waste they fall under. We went out and talked to different businesses about their waste buildup. We got to see the differences between neighborhoods and how their trash buildup compares to different areas. On one particular day, we went along the LA river in the Frogtown area and cleaned up the trash around there. (Pictured below is the data we collected that reflects the types of waste we found!) We are also learning about how trash can be repurposed into other things for different uses, as RuckusRoots has programs at schools to teach the younger students about waste reduction. I am looking forward to visiting classrooms to teach kids about their waste and how to reduce it!
So far, we’ve learned:
- About the different types of trash and the many materials they are made of
- Ways of using alternatives to reduce our waste on disposable objects such as reusable water bottles
- All bout the life cycle of trash – from product to waste and pollution that ends up on around our neighborhoods
- How to design graphs about the data we collect and input the information
- How to create surveys to collect information and accurately assess data
- The process of making a change in our community by taking action
- The many resources that available to locals who want to make changes in our area
I like the Ruckus Roots internship because it has made me more aware about my trash consumption and how much waste I produce. I’ve learned about the cycle that trash goes through and the many ways it pollutes our communities. I’ve learned how to contribute towards reducing my neighborhood’s waste and trash buildup. Overall, being an intern here has helped me reduce my waste and become more sensible about how much trash I’m producing. I’m glad I got the opportunity to have Ruckus Roots as my internship.