Trash the Landfill! EcoBrick Bench Reuses a Year’s Worth of Plastic Waste in Shipibo Community


T31_AA_EcoLadrillo_Bench_8he Shipibo community of Santa Rosa de Dinamarca, in the District of Masisea, has just built their first major ecoBrick project in the form of an 8-meter long semi circular bench around a giant mango tree in the middle of the community, right in front of the main plaza. The best seat in Dinamarca also happens to be their new ‘landfill’.

441 bottles stuffed with 187 kilos of plastic trash were used in the ecological construction. That amount of trash represents one year of collected and recovered ‘waste’ (plastic bags, wrappers, Styrofoam, and anything else small and plastic that fits into the mouth of #2 PET bottle).


The people of Dinamarca began working with Alianza Arkana in September of 2011, and gathered the waste materials from numerous activities including a Holiday Hot Chocolate Social in December of 2011, their first Community-wide Cleanup the following January, and the beginning of their community-based weekly Resource Collection Service in March.

The ecoBench is quite an impressive achievement for the community. Many community members stopped by and marveled at the innovation of the project while in construction. “Nobody ever showed us that we can do THIS with our trash,” commented one passerby.

“Now that (the community) can see how the ecoBricks are used, they are beginning to understand (why we ask them to fill plastic bottles with trash). Now it is tangible. I am surprised how well it works, and its easy to do!” observed project coordinator and local resident Oscar Montoya Pangoza.

26_AA_EcoLadrillo_Bench_3Once completed, we then back-filled the bench to cover the large exposed roots of the mango tree with an initial layer of fully matured compost from the secondary school latrine and then covered it with a 5cm layer of soil and the a 15cm layer of saw dust. The community will be planting the area with fragrant flowers and medicinal plants. They are also painting the ecoBench white with traditional Shipibo designs in black and red.

A second Community-wide Cleanup collected nearly 500 more ecoBricks prior to their 46th Anniversary celebration on August 30th. That has led to a tough decision for Dinamarca: do they build a matching bench around the neighboring mango tree or do they build a straight bench near the football field… Much better options than the burn it or bury it dilemma of yesteryears: thanks to the ecoBricks and the advent of ‘functional landfills’.

Deborah Rivett, Wednesday, 03 October 2012

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