Idea and story: Scale up EcoBricks to reduce plastic waste and provide much-needed employment, while the transition to alternatives is underway.
Undoubtedly, a policy mechanism is required to reduce the scale of plastic in our society. The requirement to pay for plastic bags was an important first step, but further action is urgently needed. With a plethora of alternatives already available including seaweed plastic bottles, stone and paper options, plant-based plastics and bees-wax wraps to name but a few - the transition IS POSSIBLE. What we need is these alternatives to be invested in, developed, scaled up and incorporated into major chain stores. This will require additional funding and expertise. Plastic taxes or bans should be instated, targeting businesses that produce products using single-use plastics - a form of business tax that is a function of the quantity of single-use plastic that particular business uses (like a carbon tax). Plastic taxes should be reinvested in R&D and deployment of alternatives. Furthermore, REDUCING PLASTIC WASTE IS ON THE MINDS OF MANY, it is in major chain store's best interests to reduce their impact for good advertising and invest in alternatives!
IN THE MEANTIME, however, as this transition will take time, EcoBricks are a viable solution for reusing even single-use plastics. I have seen first-hand the effectiveness of the EcoBrick to (1) re-use single plastic (stuffed into plastic 2L bottles) (2) provide employment opportunities in the small-scale construction industry and (3) provide much needed housing (and more recently, schools) at small-scales in South Africa and (4) increase awareness about recycling and circular possibilities among many communities in South Africa.
A brilliant example of circularity reducing environmental impact and improving social welfare.