Plastic. The ocean. Garbage. Sailing. It’s a massive challenge.

The goal in all of our lives should be to decrease single-use plastic usage. 

But it’s hard. 

I’m currently writing this to you from Cape Town, the start of the Cape2Rio sailing regatta. And where I was born.

As you can imagine, all of the boats in the regatta (except for one – Northern Light – which is using absolutely NO single use plastic) rely on single-use plastic to package their food, water and other necessary materials for the transatlantic journey.
And the journey is long. 
To get from Cape Town to Rio, we’re talking 21+ days for the smaller boats. 15+ days for the bigger boats. (The trimarans are a slightly different story, hoping to break the record and do it in 7 days I think!!)
There is an average of 5 people on each boat. 
And there are 26 boats. 

That’s a lot of plastic.
And a lot of garbage aboard. 
So what is the answer?

Eco Bricks!

Basically, you stuff all of your plastic garbage into a 2 litre plastic bottle to create a compact storage container for garbage.
1 eco brick = 2 large garbage bags of garbage. 
That’s a big space saving solution. Less risk of plastic flying into the sea. 

And it’s functional!

These bricks are then used for building. 
South Africa has schools, businesses and households creating eco bricks. And architects and development organizations are using the bricks to make low cost housing, schools, walls, benches and much much more.

But… Brazil is not yet using this technology. 

Umoya, one of the South African boats in the regatta, is challenging all of the boats to create eco bricks with their garbage on the journey. 
And to use the Cape2Rio 2020 regatta to be a transfer of information from South Africa to Brazil.

And once they arrive in Rio, keen to give these bricks to an organization who is keen to use them.

And this is where TIE comes in. 

To help make all of this possible.

We have spoken to organisations in Cape Town who have agreed to be a point of contact and sort out any questions about using and producing eco bricks. And we are in the process of finding organisations in Brazil who are interested in adopting this technology. 

Eco bricks are of course not a long-term solution for plastic, but as one of the initiatives to reduce single use plastic going into garbage dumps. And it has proven to be an interesting alternative for building a wall, a fence, a bench etc. 

And since people make eco bricks within their households, it’s a way for families to keep track of their waste production. Meaning the more eco bricks you produce, the more single-use plastic you’re consuming. So it makes you rethink your consuming habits, and connects people to their waste. 

Umoya left the harbour to start the journey last Saturday. Saravah, the only Brazilian boat, left this Saturday, the 11th. And all of the boats should be in Rio by the end of the month. 
So the clock is ticking for us to engage Brazil in this initiative, and have an organisation to not only receive these bricks, but also start the eco brick conversation in Brazil.

Follow us on Instagram at @theinternationalexchange or Facebook to see how things evolve. 
And check out the Cape2Rio regatta on Instagram (@cape2rio2020) to follow the stories of the boats. Many are already posting about the number of bricks they are making. And if you’re really interested, click here to track the boats. Things are starting to get interesting now that the fast boats have entered the race! 

More from us soon. Exciting times!