How Dream Volunteers are Utilizing Ecobricks

Dream Volunteers is a nonprofit organization devoted to empowering young people across the globe to become change makers through education, service, and cross-cultural connections. Further, the organization aims to equip young people to transform their communities through development projects.

Currently, the non-profit operates its volunteer program in the US, Guatemala, India, Ghana, Vietnam, and Costa Rica. Withal, Dream Volunteers hosts four programs; Young Dreamers, Service Trips, Gap Year, and Catalyst.

The Young Dreamers program is made up of high school students consisting of leadership development through international volunteer trips as well as providing academic scholarships for promising youth in developing countries. Dream Volunteers host service trips which are an opportunity for youth and families to engage in volunteer work and moreover immerse themselves in communities and cultures. The Gap Year program, often nine months, allows students taking a gap year to feel empowered as they serve Young Dreamer communities. The program focuses on individual growth as participants find their purpose while giving back to communities in need. Lastly, the Catalyst program consists of college students actively participating in an environmentally and socially conscious lifestyle. The groups of volunteers aim towards building sustainability.

Beyond helping students reach their fullest potential, the organization also aims at supporting the planet. One practice used is the making of ecobricks. Ecobricks, formally defined, are plastic bottles packed tightly with used plastic products to create a building block. Thus, the brick becomes a sustainable use of plastic waste. The brick is easy to make with the majority of the work being the collection of materials and the patience that comes with tightly packing the bottle to a heavy density.

Ecobricks, particularly, helps the environment in three ways. First, ecobricks prevent plastic waste from disrupting the ecosystem because the bricks seal away the used plastic, therefore, preventing the buildup of toxic gases, methane. The gas methane has been noted as the cause of climate change. Next, the creation of ecobricks raises ecological consciousness. Thirdly, ecobricks are a low energy solution to creating a sustainable material.

To summarize, plastic is kept out of land and water, and the material is used to make environmentally friendly solutions. The material keeps plastic and CO2 out of the atmosphere.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program stated that most plastic does not mineralize, rather the plastic continues to break down into smaller pieces. In accession, the rate of degradation is dependent on many factors such as the weight, environment, and chemical composition.

Recently, a Young Dreamer in Ghana learned about the development of eco-bricks in Costa Rica and took initiative to start a project of her own. The Dreamer created an ecobrick structure on her college campus.

Pictured is a close-up of the ecobrick structure located in Ghana. For more information on ecobricks visit
https://dreamvolunteers.org/costa-rica/

Within all Dream Volunteer programs and hard work they continue to do, the non-profit takes pride in supporting and building sustainability through community development projects. The creation of ecobricks offers a solution towards reducing our carbon footprint while reducing pollution.

For more information on Dream Volunteers, their service trips, and how to get involved visit their website ​https://dreamvolunteers.org

Works Cited:

Dianna.parker. (2013, August 12). Do plastics go away when they’re in the ocean or Great Lakes?: OR&R’s Marine Debris Program. Retrieved from https://marinedebris.noaa.gov/do-plastics-go-away-when-theyre-ocean-or-great-lakes

(n.d.). Dream Volunteers : Volunteer Trips, Gap Year Programs, and Service Learning. Retrieved
from ​https://www.dreamvolunteers.org/

(2018, October 1). What are Ecobricks? Retrieved from ​https://www.ecobricks.org/what

Article by: Alexis Takagi

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