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This upcycled brick is one way of making plastic waste disappear

By Joeanna Rebello Fernandes
Ashwani Khurana, proprietor of a Nine-hole golfing course in Manesar, shoulders two baggage when he hits the golf green, one with irons, the other with plastic. “Fellow golfers by way of now know they ought to drop their empty mineral water bottles and plastic waste into my jute bag,” says Khurana, who, in conjunction with his caddy, scoop up all discarded plastic they encounter on the vegetables.

Back at Karma Lakelands, the 275-acre golfing course and hotel he owns at Manesar, snack packets, disposable cup covers and food wrappers are wiped clean, dried and scissored into strips by way of his team of workers and filled, with the help of twigs, into PET water or soda bottles. This plastic silo is the EcoBrick – an astonishingly easy software which, in its very construction, necessitates a essential evaluation of the maker’s intake of plastic in its myriad bureaucracy. The bottles are then used as ‘bricks’, or building blocks for plenty of utilities, including modular furniture, lawn benches, walls, fences, artwork installations or even houses.

Until remaining 12 months, Khurana idea handiest to minimise his plastic waste. But the little he did generate could handiest be segregated and passed over in excellent faith to the general public rubbish disposal device. What was of that plastic was any person’s bet. “And then I learnt about eco-bricking at The British School, the place my daughter research. A fellow parent, Kanchana Weerakoon, introduced it to us,” says Khurana.

The concept of containing doubtlessly toxic non-biodegradable trash and hanging it to constructive use appealed to him. He initiated eco-bricking at home and at work, the place everyone makes eco-bricks of their spare time. About a thousand bricks had been stacked up at Karma Lakelands already. A solitary bench, certain in cement, sets an instance for what will also be completed with the brick. (A mixture of clay, sand and straw, alternatively, is preferable to cement whose manufacturing is itself environmentally unfriendly). But furniture isn't Khurana’s end-goal.

“I intend to either ship the EcoBricks to plastic recycling gadgets or to corporations that use plastic in laying of roads. It has been discovered that roads constructed with a 90:10 mix of tar and plastic are more durable than the ones made completely of tar,” says Khurana, who runs 9 plastic and electronic waste assortment centres throughout NCR.

Weerakoon, the Sri Lankan environmentalist now dwelling in Delhi, says the idea isn't to make extra Eco-bricks, however to have fewer to make over the years by way of chopping down one’s intake of single-use plastic. Weerakoon has been an ardent advocate of practices that restore and restore the environment, of which Eco-bricks are a herbal extension. “Back home in Sri Lanka, I’d gather the plastic waste I’d generate and having no concept what to do with it, would bury it in a nook of my lawn. Around 2012-13, the founding father of the Eco-bricks movement, Russell Maier, visited me and really useful this as an alternative. I’ve been making and promoting them ever since,” says Weekaroon, who, regardless of her very best efforts to limit the access of disposable plastic into her home, has still to deal with the stray interloper.

“The mesh packaging of child onions; my husband’s cholesterol drugs strips, salt packets, cheese wrappers, takeaway food packaging and sauce sachets…” she itemises, underscoring the challenges of main a complete zero-waste lifestyle. She takes her personal food bins to the butcher or fishmonger, carries her metal straw, cup and plate everywhere she goes, and leaves the packaging of purchases like footwear or clothes, back on the store.

Schools, apartment complexes and eco-festivals around NCR have turn out to be accustomed to EcoBrick because of Weekaroon, who is president of the non-profit, Edible Routes Foundation, dedicated to the conservation of our surroundings.

However, Keshav Jaini, a permaculturist in Gurgaon whose greening, composting and neighborhood farming at Garden Estate have hit the headlines, believes that wide-scale reparative motion is the need of the hour. “We’ve been so detrimental in our degradation of the planet that small actions will never quantity to sufficient to rebuild what we’ve destroyed,” he issues out. Pro-action decrees now not just reining in our waste however doing extra – planting, composting, recycling… — on the neighborhood level.

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