If you’ve been keeping up with our blog posts over the last few months, you’ll know that we’re on a campaign to reduce plastic pollution in the veterinary industry, and the world in general. Today, we’re investigating an interesting new idea to deal with the unavoidable plastic that accumulates in your practice: the ecobrick.

Ecobricks are very simple to make – you take a standard plastic bottle, and pack it full of other plastic waste. These bricks can be used in a variety of creative ways, from building walls to making furniture; they also float well, so some people have even made small boats with them. They can be set together with concrete, or, if you want to be really eco-friendly, a traditional wattle-and-daub technique can be very effective.

Around the world, ecobricks are presenting a good way to simultaneously tackle the problem of plastic pollution while also giving people free materials to build more structures, such as in Nicaragua, where a local named Álvaro Molina has managed the impressive feat of building a school from about 28,000 ecobricks. Ecobricks are also good for building community gardens or landscaping your own garden.

The ecobrick idea has recently been adopted by White Cross Vets in Gateacre. Spokeswoman Helen Morris said: “In our industry almost everything comes packed in unrecyclable plastics, from small syringe packets through to large delivery bags and the plastic on the backs of patient labels, which we print hundreds of every day.

“As a result, we decided to look at how we might be able to put it to good use, rather than simply putting it in the bin and came across ecobricks. By taking the time to fill the bottles with plastic, we can significantly reduce the waste we send to landfill, and cut the amount of plastic that ends up littering the planet and ultimately finds its way into the sea. We are now making them every week and the whole team gets involved, which is rewarding for everyone involved.”

 

Ecobricks offer a good alternative use for plastic that would simply be thrown away. If you don’t have a specific use for them yourself, there are places which will take them off you. You can find out which organisations near you are accepting ecobricks by checking out this helpful map

Of course, ecobricks aren’t a concrete solution to the continuing problem of plastic pollution, but they do offer a good interim solution for the plastic that we still have to deal with. It may well be worth adopting a similar idea in your practice.

If you’d like to know more about environmentalism in the veterinary world and beyond, you can still see our free keynote session from Virtual Congress 2019.


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