I would like you to meet Sammy. Sammy is an eco-bench and, following up on last week’s telephone box, this is another idea looking for adoption.*
During a visit to the village of Hampstead Norreys in Berkshire, I was introduced to this project that saw villagers create ecobricks—plastic bottles stuffed with single-use plastic—that were then built into a cob bench for the local primary school. The idea behind ecobricks is that they form the core of the structure and require less building material than a traditional construction while reusing materials that would otherwise go to waste. The bottle needs to be packed tight with plastic for it to be effective, but one of the benefits is that the bricks can be reused almost indefinitely.
Personally, I would love to see people reject single-use packaging as the first port of call to send the message to producers that unsustainable packaging will no longer be tolerated. But if plastic is going to be used, then incorporating it into a structure like this could be beneficial:
- Wider community involvement: Getting students, parents, siblings, and neighbours involved in creating ecobricks harnesses the positive effect of working together for the greater good. In this particular case, it helps to …
- Illustrate the amount of waste that can’t be recycled: Tonnes of single-use plastic waste are sent to landfills on a daily basis: it is the very definition of unsustainable. This helps remove it from the waste stream and hopefully encourages brick makers to consider reducing their overall wasteline.
- Provide a useful structure: The versatility of the ecobricks means that different structures can be created depending on need: benches, raised flower beds, composters. As a natural material, cob has a low carbon footprint compared to concrete (but does need proper maintenance!).
Are there any schools or community groups interested in getting involved to create their own Sammy in the playground or a local park? Drop me a line and I’ll connect you with Hampstead Norreys for details on how to get started.
Just to re-iterate this previous announcement, Off the Ground does not have the capacity to take on any projects itself but would be happy if groups with an active membership wish to pursue this or any of the projects shared.