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Reimagining the Usefulness of Plastic Waste

This grassroots eco-brick project is setting out to change the waste cycle by capturing plastics before they become pollution, and instead use them in infrastructure improvements that benefit the local community.

Ricardo “Ricar” Quesada is a local Costa Rican who has seen the impacts of the plastics problem in the streets and beaches of his home country get worse throughout his lifetime. Based on his research and connections with professionals and people who have devoted their lives to building solutions for a better world, he and his comrades are designing a model for manufacturing eco-bricks that will capture and use plastics that would otherwise be waste materials to improve important public safety infrastructure like sidewalks and roadways. 

Ricar began dreaming of this project years ago, and in February 2020 began the conversations with CommonGoods Network to secure our support. Since July 2020, he has been researching and working with professionals on the technical aspects required, namely what materials to use and how the design process will take form.

Ricar wanted to name this project "ecommonbrics" because it combines "eco" and "common", as well as the Spanish pronunciation of “brick”, giving mention to the collaboration with CommonGoods Network and the roots of this project's beginnings in Costa Rica.

This project has been awarded two grants by CommonGoods Network because we believe in the positive impact this project can have, which is why we are matching $1,000 of funds raised for this project, in addition to giving the project a $500 initial grant.

Right now in Costa Rica and many other countries around the world, public transportation is impeded by dirt roads which are impassable during rainy seasons and are dust-plumed public health hazards during dry seasons. Cars, bikes, and pedestrians, as well as the local economy, will benefit from eco-brick laden paths. 

Not only will this project’s success provide access to designs which can be adapted and used anywhere, but education about the process will be available to anyone who volunteers - from local community to international visitors with such interests. This project will also strive to share sufficient information about this process so that others may learn and replicate it for the benefit of their communities as well.

Community involvement is integral to this project. Ricar, the project leader, has been discussing this project with the local community in Montezuma, Costa Rica for over a year, and building connections there for several years prior. This project has benefitted from the expertise of local builders and engineers who have provided insights as to the designs and materials to use. To implement each phase requires the support and participation of the local community, who is becoming more and more interested and involved. Local establishments have welcomed the presence of simple receptacles with hand-written signage to help collect plastics of the desired shapes and sizes.

Youth have volunteered their time collecting and sorting plastics into their categories for ease of use. Leaders in the active artist community in town have become inspired to learn more, volunteer, and encourage others to support. Ricar has also had several meetings with government officials and leaders of local Costa Rican organizations who have expressed interest in supporting this project. The groundwork has been laid with organizations and government agencies early on so that they will be ready to help with any infrastructure design or permits that may be needed in Phase 2 or 3. Collaboration with organizations and individuals is also helping people learn more about this growing project, inspiring those who may be able to help with their time, money, and connections.

holding eco brick

This project seeks to address several issues:

a) reduce the damaging presence of plastic pollution that litters otherwise beautiful places that many humans and wildlife call home;
b) improve degraded roads, sidewalks, bus stops, and other infrastructure that is seldom replaced or improved, despite its necessity and use by all ages of people who rely on this for transportation;
c) provide education about the impact of pollutants in the oceans, forests, and beyond;
d) open-source access to sustainable technologies;
e) boost the local economy with attention and increase environmentally aware tourism.


We know plastic is killing more than 100,000 sea turtles and birds a year.1 Meanwhile, impacts of inclement weather on public infrastructure go unaddressed, leading to dangerous conditions people are facing every day. This is the case particularly during the rainy half of the year in Montezuma, Costa Rica. This beautiful coastal town is rich in nature and - unfortunately - plastic pollution.

Let's all do what we can to support a healthy, harmonious, and safe planet. Make a donation to support this eco-brick project here.

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