Nfld. & Labrador

MUN students turn plastic bags and wrappers into 'bricks' to keep them out of landfills

Stuff your Halloween candy wrappers into a pop bottles until it's as dense as a brick: the Grenfell Waste Management Committee in Corner Brook has a plan.

Grenfell Campus project packs plastic into pop bottles for use in a community garden

Filling plastic bottles with candy wrappers will eventually give it the structural integrity of a brick, says the Grenfell Waste Management Committee, which wants to do a little building. (Grenfell Waste Management Committee/Facebook)

Keep your Halloween candy wrappers in your pockets and don't recycle your two-litre pop bottles: the Grenfell Waste Management Committee in Corner Brook has a plan for a DIY project which many people can do at home.

The idea is to stuff empty pop bottles with two-inch squares cut from leftover candy wrappers and potato chip bags to create what are called ecobricks.

"You shove as much in as you possibly can until it reaches a density that is pretty much the same structural integrity as you would have in a brick," Jenna McDermott, events co-ordinator with the Grenfell Waste Management Committee, told CBC Radio's Newfoundland Morning

The student-led group at Memorial University's west coast campus is planning to use the bricks to build a structure on campus, such as a bench, and to help divert plastics from landfills.

The group wants to divert waste from landfills — and make a point. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

So far, the committee has brought about 40 people into the project, has filled around 45 bottles, and has kept 20 kilograms of plastics from ending up in the dump.

But there's still work to be done. The group is expecting at least another semester's work before it will have enough ecobricks to complete the project. 

The committee is planning to use the bricks in a community garden while showing the amount of plastic that can be diverted from landfills. (Grenfell Waste Management Committee/Facebook)

But the group says project's popularity is growing, and will give people a bottle to fill and a dowel to help compact the discarded plastic. A volunteer can then bring the filled bottle back to the group.

"We get a lot of interest. Some people who have never heard of it before, they're super-excited because we have the recycling program, we have the composting program, but what do you do with everything else?" said Darrian Washinger, president of the committee.

"It makes you feel good. It makes you environmentally conscious. You see how much plastic can gp into a simple two-litre bottle." 

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from CBC Newfoundland Morning

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