Creating Eco-Products to Support Communities through COVID-19
Updated: Jun 14
At Eco Brixs, our model is based on the idea of creating new, innovative items that people will value, from everyday waste. This is the foundation for our closed-loop system and allows communities to make the most of the resources already in circulation.
Hence, our hashtag #givetrashavalue, an ethos which we believe is crucial to solving the plastic problem. We refer to these newly-created, recycled items as our Eco-Products.
As communities around the world now require items to protect themselves against COVID-19 and stop the spread of the virus, we're now looking at ways to use plastic waste (and other materials at our disposal) to help people do just that!
Manufacturing Plastic Visors
In all our respective countries, we've heard of the pressing need for equipment to protect frontline hospital workers, who are putting themselves at risk every day in efforts to save the sick from coronavirus.
But the need for protective equipment is even more true for an underdeveloped healthcare system such as the one in Uganda. To highlight how under-resourced it is, there are only 55 intensive care beds in the whole country, and Masaka Referral Hospital (the main hospital in the district where we operate), which serves a catchment area of 1.5 million, has no ventilators.
Our recent work with the referral hospital, in helping them prepare for the virus, has highlighted just how little other support they have received so far.
As a result, we're now working on using plastic waste to make protective plastic visors to help keep hospital staff safe during their shifts.
The visors will be made from recycled HDPE and PET plastic waste, which was brought from the community. (As we pay for plastic waste by the kilogram, as well as aid recycling, this also helps local people earn an income!).
The machines are set to arrive from Austria today, and our team is currently hard at work shredding the plastic in preparation for the process. The 'Injection Machine' and 'Product Mould' will allow us to create the mask in two parts: the shield itself and the frame to hold it in place, which will then be combined by hand to make the finished product.
Here's a summary of the process and of how our team in Masaka will produce the visors:
Plastic waste can be broken down into small granules, which can be used to create many Eco-Products.
We'll be breaking down the lids of plastic bottles to create the 'frames' for visors.
The bottle itself will then allows us to create the shield part of the visor, by removing the top and bottom part of the bottle, as you can see here.
We'll then combine the two parts to form the visors, which helps protect hospital staff from the virus.
The team have recently been hard at work shredding the plastic by hand. Then, as soon as the machines are installed, the plastic can be used to start producing these Eco-Products to help frontline workers at the hospital.
Creating Masks from Uganda Fabric in the UK
In addition to our efforts in Uganda, we are also producing masks to help protect people in the United Kingdom, where our international team is based.
Gee, our Founder and Chair of the UK board, has been hard at work making masks from Ugandan fabrics.
The funds raised from the masks will go toward supporting our work in Uganda - buying one set will fund one visor, described above, for a frontline worker.
They cost £20 per pack (inc P&P) and are reusable. We can deliver them worldwide.
If you’d like to place an order, please visit the store here.
A massive thank you in advance if you would like to purchase some of these masks - they make a huge difference in helping us to manufacture the eco-friendly visors described above, which help protect health workers.
We excited by the prospect of how the items above can help people stay safe during the pandemic, especially as they are made from previously discarded materials, which would have been viewed as 'useless' normally.
As we continue to bring more processes online over the coming months, we'll continue to look at how plastic waste can be used to protect communities from COVID-19, as well as follow our original plan to start making the very Eco-Products in our name, the bricks!
A huge thank you to everyone who has supported our campaign to support Masaka through COVID-19, via the hospital and food programme. As the Ugandan government has recently announced another 3 weeks of strict lockdown, the food programme, in particular, has become all the more vital in helping the vulnerable community. We'll continue to distribute food over the coming weeks, which has been made possible by your generosity.
If you would like to read more about our relief efforts, you can do so here. Furthermore, if you would like to donate and help us to continue to provide food to the vulnerable over the coming weeks, you can donate here.