Green Path Academy’s Bottle Brick Campaign!
One way to teach communities about the environment and zero waste is through the fun activity of making bottle bricks. We encourage bottle bricking as a skill that people take home with them, which in turn will significantly reduce our landfill waste, and turn it into a resource that can be used in the community.
Building a bench with bottle bricks is a great way to encourage the community to come together and use their “trash” for something useful and beautiful. These benches always include a truth window, a window to see that the inside of the bench is made of trash. Bottle bricking is the ultimate form of recycling and a great teaching tool. It gets us as a community thinking about how much plastic waste we generate each day, and questioning why we need all this waste anyway? It offers us a useful way to reuse this resource and turn it into a community gathering space.
If you are interested in learning how to build a bottle brick bench with your community, come to our 10 day workshop at Sandy Spring Friends School Campus. During this workshop we will be sharing the skill of organizing and building a bench on your own with your community. This workshop is for any leader, environmental educator, teacher or passionate parent who wants to spread the skill of bottle bricking and bench building in your community, park or school.
What is a Bottle Brick made of?
The materials needed to make one must be DRY and INORGANIC – meaning no food or paper- this is very important because once the bottle is sealed into the bench, any organic matter will decompose inside the bottle and cause it to pop open, which could crack the cob and cause the bench to come apart.
There are plenty of materials around- mostly non recyclable plastic packaging, plastic bags, twisty ties, old rubber bands, broken plastic things, plastic tags, plastic stickers, etc.
**note, chip bags, bread bags and the like definitely are used; just make sure there are no left over crumbs. (Just open the bag up and dust out remaining crumbs)
The bottles that are collected need to be rinsed and dried as well and we try not to use the “recycled” water bottles as the plastic is too thin and will break while stuffing. There are plenty of coke, pepsi, gatorade, powerade etc. (If you don’t use or buy plastic bottles, no worries, we have been finding them everywhere as litter.)
Once everything is collected you will need a stuffer- this can be anything from drumsticks to the back of a wooden spoon. This will help make the stuffing process easier, as you want to stuff as MUCH AS POSSIBLE into the bottle, which eventually equal the same density as a brick.
Bottle bricking is something that people around the world are doing. We got this idea started with the organization called the Peace On EarthBench Movement (POEM) (earthbench.org). There is another organization working in Latin America called Hug It Forward (hugitforward.org) where they are building schools out of bottle bricks. The Harvest Collective and So What Else’s Green Path Academy is bringing the movement here to Maryland.
Keep an eye out for other upcoming Bench Builds.
Check out Maryland’s First Bottle Brick Bench built entirely by volunteers in the fall of 2014.