Tag Archives: today

We start construction at EandHweek today!

No April Fools joke.  Today we install the foundation and start placing the Ubuntu-Blox for the Kenya/Omyonga house.  We will be working there all weekend and next week to get it all done so visitors can see what a house made with plastic refuse can be like.

Monday evening we will pick up Patti Stouter at the airport.  She is flying in from New York State to have a ton of fun building the Kenya/Omyonga house.  http://www.simpleearthstructures.com/about.php  She is going to help us formulate and apply earth plaster over the blocks.  She has suggested we mix the plaster the same way it will be done in some of the developing nations where the Ubuntu-Blox is designed to help.  We will lay out a tarp on the ground, add the ingredients, local soil, sand, straw, horse manure, and water.  It is mixed with our feet.

So if you want to do some walking without going anywhere and getting high on life, be there, or be square.

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.

We did a compression test today

We don’t have access to an academics lab to do testing on the blocks.  So I did the next best thing…

Click on the “more” for photos and more dialog..

As you can see, the block was distorted in our redneck/red truck compression test.

This is a redneck’s red truck that weighs fifteen thousand pounds or so just about any day of the week empty.  Most of the weight is on the front axle when it’s empty, diesel motor and all.  I think an estimate of two ton or four thousand pounds or so would be a safe estimate of weight applied to the block.

One of the neat things about plastic is its resiliency.  If you look close I think you’ll agree that even if the block failed the two ton redneck red truck weight bearing test it will still work just fine in a wall.