Ecobricks – How to Reuse Your Non-Recyclable Plastic Waste

updated 24 March 2020

A couple of years ago, I came across this wonderful idea of making ecobricks*. It’s  a great way to reuse all your non-recyclable plastic waste and turn it into something that can be reused. In this post, I will show you how to make an ecobrick, tell you what can go in an ecobrick and give you links to useful resources.

Many of us have got on board with reducing our plastic waste, but there is still far too much of it passing through most homes. Sometimes, it is beyond our control.

There are certain times of the year when there is likely to be an abundance of excess packaging in many households, schools and businesses.  Christmas, birthdays, after a spring clean or declutter, even when you unpack your weekly shop.

In the current climate where many of us are having our household and waste collections reduced to fortnightly, it is an ideal time to get on board the ecobrick revolution.

I wanted to share the idea with you all, to show you how you can reuse your non-recyclable plastic waste.

It is an innovative idea because it is something that you can do yourself in your home, your school or community. You do not need to wait for shops or governments to change policy to take this positive action to help the environment.

plastic bottle filled with lots of small plastic pieces ecobrick
Photo thanks to Maria Harding – her first ecobrick

Many of us are trying to reduce our plastic use as much as possible, some even working towards zero waste, but today’s lifestyle does involve lots of plastic no matter how hard we try. Even when we recycle plastic, it still has a damaging effect on the environment, and there are so many items that cannot be recycled.


This brilliant idea involves packing non-recyclable plastic waste into plastic bottles including bags, labels, cling film, tape, sweet wrappers, yoghurt pots, etc. When it is cut small and packed tight it becomes weighty and can then be used to build small home and garden constructions with.

Immediately it has considerably less net volume than if you just throw it away into landfill or the recycling bin. It also has a purpose. The whole idea is to use plastic as a resource, rather than it becoming a throwaway item that is a blight on the environment. The Global Ecobrick Alliance are keen to disassociate this project from the idea of “waste”.


I just love the idea of this both for personal use and as community projects in schools and groups. I started mine and filled a small bottle within 4 days!  It’s shocking and has made me think even harder about how to reduce my plastic usage.

By introducing this idea to your friends, family, and neighbours it is a great opportunity to spread the message of reducing single-use plastic.  This is also a great activity for children to learn about the environment and progress their fine motor skills with cutting up and putting the pieces in the bottle (Yes I know, I’m always the teacher!)

man sitting on a sofa made of plastic ecobricks
photo thanks to


They were originally invented for use in other countries but the craze has now hit the UK. Initially, they mostly seemed to be used to make seating and small walls in homes and gardens, but I’ve also seen an outdoor skateboard ramp constructed from ecobricks!

I’m sure as time goes on and this becomes more popular, people will get very creative and come up with all sorts of ideas of how to use ecobricks. People are starting to share their plans on the Facebook group and I’ve seen people are thinking of using them to insulate their green and summerhouses,  or make into planters and even build a tortoise enclosure!

And of course, if you don’t think you want to use them yourself, how about making the bricks and donating them to a local cause. They are springing up all over the place now that word is getting out, just ask on your local Facebook group or check the list of collection points on the official ecobricks Facebook group.

plastic rubbish packs and pots norecyleable
plastic bottle cling film and cut plastic ecobrick


You can find all the info you need on  with lots of downloadable pdf guides and videos that will show you what you can put inside your ecobrick, exactly how to make them and how you can construct with them. There is so much information on this website including working out your PTR (Plastic Transition Ratio) by measuring your consumption against the production of your own ecobricks. I’m sure we will all be astonished at quite how much plastic we use.

As well as the official website, there is a brilliant interactive Facebook group for ecobricks in the UK, which offers support and answers queries. They have all the answers to most of your frequently asked questions which can be found by accessing files from a dropdown on the header of their Facebook Page.

screen shot of FAQ headers from ecobricks website
FAQs on the ecobricks Facebook page


I found that my first brick was a bit of trial and error, some pieces I cut too small, some too large.  Unfortunately, my first bottle (pictured below), was not quite dense enough and had to be repacked tighter. This can be determined by weighing your bottle and checking the density on the website.

The best tip is to make sure that you push it down tight from the very start. I was amazed at just how much more I could pack in each time. I was able to use a wooden spoon for the small one but needed a longer piece of bamboo stick for the second larger bottle.

It is easy to make, but it is time-consuming.

weight guide for ecobricks on a green background with a plastic bottle at the bottom of the chart
Weight guide courtesy of Emily Squidgell from ecobricks Facebook


The most important thing I have gained from it so far is just how much plastic goes through our household even though I thought I was quite “green” minded. I am determined to try harder and to spread the word of this innovative idea.

It has led me to seek out more information on the internet about how to reduce my waste further and I have come across another wonderful group  Journey to Zero Waste in the UK.  It’s been a massive learning curve. Even if you don’t want to do this yourself I would urge you all to make just one so you can see how much plastic waste you create.  It might make you think differently.

plastic bottles filled with waste plastic to make ecobrick

Who else is going to join in or share this idea with their friends and schools?  Or have you already started making ecobricks, if so what are you planning to make? Please do share this to spread the word. You can make a difference.


Of course please try to reduce plastic consumption as much as possible by:

* Buying your fruit and vegetables loose or reusing the plastic bags that they come in each week.

* Or try growing some of your own fruit and veg.

* Taking your own containers for meat and fish at Morrisons where you’ll also receive bonus points.

* Take fabric shopping bags with you.

* Shop at one of the newer stores that sell loose dry food by weight and take your own containers.

* Use stainless steel straws.

* Use bamboo toothbrushes and cups.

* Buy a refillable water bottle, coffee cup or flask.

* Reuse ice cream tubs as lunch boxes that can be washed out after each use.

* Reuse larger lidded yoghurt and dessert pots for storage.

* Try out the new range of shampoo bars.

* Use a bar of hand soap rather than liquid soap or buy a soap dispenser which uses far less than if you pump it out yourselves.

You may also like to read more from my Art, Crafts, Upcycling & Eco section which features lots of ideas including:

How to Reuse, Redistribute and Recycle your Rubbish
How to Make Art and Upcycle your Music Memorabilia
10 Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste on Holiday

ecobrick UK Facebook group

* Please note there is no capitalisation on the word ecobricks.
Russell Maier, Regenerative Designer: “Our vision is to take the specialness out of ecobricks and make it normal.”

two people playing guitars on stage wall made of plastic ecobricks
photo from


poster titled how to make an ecobrick with 4 photos of a plastic bottle with a wooden spoon pushing down plastic waste at various stages, the 4th image has a sealed bottle full of plastic waste


35 thoughts on “Ecobricks – How to Reuse Your Non-Recyclable Plastic Waste

  1. Fabulous idea. I will spread the word.

    The only point I have to make is the continued myth that cotton bags are better for the environment than plastic bags: they’re not. An Environment Agency (UK) study found that cotton bags would need to be used x100 before they yield net environmental benefits.

    And organic cotton? Up to x2,000 times (the crop has a very low yield, uses a lot of water in production and is much heavier to transport). In addition, its handles are prone to harbour bacteria, whereas plastic does not.

    “Alternatives don’t yet work, so we must recycle what we’re using.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It must take hours to make just one of them. Not a great idea. No. What they need to do is find a way of recycling plastic into other uses. Perhaps making normal sized bricks with plastic then somehow adhering them together for construction materials. Its a huge problem. And online retailers are just making it far worse because there’s lot more packing material when you buy one item than when you take it off the shelf.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I quite agree that something needs to be done long term, but I think the process of everyday people making ecobricks will show just how much non-recyclable plastic their household uses which in turn may make then rethink their own purchases.

      Liked by 1 person

    • We should be taking all the packaging off and leaving it with the supermarket to deal with. They will get the message; we will use fewer plastic bags, have lighter weight shopping, and less waste to dispose of when we get home.

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.