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!
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.
It’s always around the holidays when we are reminded of how blessed our little organization is. We are so grateful to count you among our ever-growing community of supporters, collaborators & allies.
This year, each and every one of you continued to make a real and lasting impact for our immediate L.A community, arts education and the planet by aligning yourself with RuckusRoots’ goals and values.
What more could we ask for?!
We do have one item on our wishlist this year, however. Maybe it will resonate with you…
Our wonderful new interns (read up on our Strong Roots internship program if you’re interested) recently surveyed Highland Park community members about their hopes for their neighborhood in the coming year. What they learned echoes exactly what we’ve been hearing from citizens all over the L.A area – from Culver City to Echo Park, South Central, West Hollywood and beyond!
People want deepened connections with one another. They want safer, more beautiful neighborhoods. They want to access to resources and tools that will teach them how to affect real, visible change in their homes and communities.
It’s a tall order.
But here’s what we realized: We’re all on a mission to achieve the same goals!
We’re continually inspired and awed by the resilience and innovation of the Angelenos we meet through our work. Let’s get together and tackle these goals in 2020!
Here’s to another year of empowering communities, deepening connections and making sustainable creative experiences accessible to all…