Tag Archives: grocery

We Need Foam Plastics (Styrofoams)

We are desperate for foam plastics to make the blocks for the Hunt Institute Engineering and Humanity Week Kenya House. 

We also need the grocery bags but are finding those at Albertsons in Wylie, Brookshires in Wylie, Brookshires in Farmersville, Walmart in Wylie, and Walmart Neighborhood Store in Murphy. 

Home Depot in Wylie is giving us foam plastics they bring back from installations.  Lowes in Murphy has said they will do the same thing.  Best Buy in Northpark is getting a thing together to get us their foam plastics and Fry’s Electronics in Plano is supposedly also working up a way to collect their foam plastics.  Allied Waste’s recycling center in Plano lets me have all the foam plastics I can gather from their trash collection but there isn’t very much to get at one time.  BCE Electro has given us a bunch of foam also.

BAD Plastic blocks!

We’re making blocks for an event in April.  They want us to have a model house for attendees to experience.

The guys and gals at Allied Waste Recycling Center in Plano, Texas will give me all the plastic I want to make the blocks.  That is too easy and doesn’t make a loud enough of a statement.  All of the curbside recyclers, Allied Waste included, won’t knowingly take styrofoam or film plastics.  Stryofoam and film plastics are destined for the landfill.  If it is put into the recycle bin for curbside recycling it is sorted out and shipped from there to the land fill.  Unless I find it first.

I wade into that stuff and I pull out the styrofoam.  It takes almost a full large garbage bag’s worth to make one block.  They don’t always have it.  But if they do and I’m there I get it, as much as I can.  I stop at a couple of groceries that allow me to pick up the contents of their recycled plastic bag bins.

This is one morning’s haul.  The styrofoam is in the big green bags and the clear bags are full of film plastics from the grocery stores.

The fun starts at the shop.  I take the grocery bags and put four of them together.  Then I fill the bag with pieces of stryofoam.  When the bag is full I tie the ends together, just like they do at the store when you use the bags for your purchases.

The styrofoam won’t stay together as a block without being contained in the bags.  It’s almost serendipity the way it works.  One bad plastic won’t become a good thing without the other, marvelous.  I’ve also found out that one or two of the bags isn’t enough to hold the styrofoam in place during the compaction process.  So we use four bags.

It takes four bags full of styrofoam to make a half block, six to make a full one.  Believe it or not, I ran out of the grocery bags today before I ran out of styrofoam material today.  I also pack in the big pieces of film plastic I get like the shrink wrap and large plastic wrappings and bags thrown away.

This is a large block ready to wire up.

I’ve put in a plea for clean styrofoam dishes like plates, trays, cups, egg cartons, etc online at different places.  I wanted to get some newspaper coverage with a plea for that stuff but it didn’t work out very well.  So if you look up recycling styrofoam in Dallas, Texas hopefully during your search you will find my begging for the bad stuff.  I need about three hundred large bags full for the model house, sorry landfill, you lose, we win.

A Plea for help

We have been honored by an invitation to display at a very important event in Dallas in April.  As of right now we plan on having a finished shelter designed by Ronald Omyonga.  He will design and we will build an example of a shelter made for Nairobi Kenya.  We also want to have at least one plastic block press onsite with materials for visitors to participate in making recycled plastic blocks.

As most of you already know styrofoam and film (grocery sacks) plastics are not wanted for traditional recycling.  At most recycling centers that handle home pick up recycling these items are sorted and then sent to the landfill.  Allied Waste aka Republic Recycling center in Plano Texas will give me recyclable plastics for the blocks.  I don’t want to use that because I want to use the stuff that is destined for the landfill.

That’s where I need help.  If you live in the north east of Dallas area, close to Wylie, and you want to participate I want your film plastics, grocery bags etc.  I also want your clean styrofoam stuff.  This can be anything from peanuts used in packing, the big foam blocks that protect electronics during shipping, to go foam dishes and cups, foam and film plastic packages for groceries like meats and vegetables, and let’s not forget those foam egg cartons. 

I want them clean if at all possible.  It won’t take you but a minute to rinse them off before you bag them for me.  The reason for that is the blocks made with these products will be handled by the public, specifically college students. 

As more information becomes available we will pass it on about the event.  It is an unbelievable opportunity for us and we want it to take full advantage of the exposure.  If we can build the shelter and demonstrate with stuff destined for the landfill because it doesn’t already have recyclable value it will be even better.

One more thing, we get about two  to two and a half blocks from each large green plastic trash bag of material.  If you want to see the process and participate making blocks we would appreciate that help too.  Especially if you bring along the kiddos.  That would be the best thing of all, starting them young to be responsible consumers and citizens. 

One other thing while you’re feeling so generous, I want to share some of these blocks with the public for them to use to share the vision of making homes for the third world that are good homes.  Not just shelters, homes.