Monday in Joza – Eco-Bricks

I’ve had a rather bizarre and extraordinary idea. Crazy perhaps, but that’s fitting. We live in a crazy place.

Dr Trevor Davies is building an Eco-Brick house in eNkanini, just other side Joza towards Makana Brick. Paul Marriner and I joined Trevor on a site-visit. We were hugely impressed.

Trevor is assisting an employee and his family to build a home of dignity. The structure is sturdy and well insulated. It’s built on a concrete slab. In addition to 5,000 Eco-Bricks (3 Tonnes of plastic waste) they’ve used cement, wooden windows / door and a proper timber roof structure covered with zinc sheeting. A rainwater tank is plumbed to a tap inside. Later the garden will be developed and vegetables grown. Trevor is already planning Eco-Brick house project number 2. If you’d like to visit, contact Paul Marriner or inbox me.

What excites me is that Trevor has lit a candle of demand for Eco-Bricks. We need to build more Eco-Brick houses. Loads of Eco-Bricks to build houses equates to a multi-tonnage removal of plastic waste.

Thanks to passionate educators in our community there are flourishing little Eco-Brick production lines within the schools. However, the missing parts have been a) lack of Eco-Brick building projects to drive Eco-Brick demand, and b) monetary value for an Eco-Brick to incentivise people to produce Eco-Bricks.

The raw materials are scattered everywhere but without demand for Eco-Bricks there can be no scale to the industry. And that’s what we need. The crazy idea. A massive Eco-Brick industry in Grahamstown. Clean the place one Eco-Brick at a time and build homes for people. For goodness sakes, we could build Eco-Brick estates.

There are other pieces to this Eco-Brick Industry puzzle and it will take time (and small capital) to get it cracking. For starters, though, more Eco-Brick education and enthusiasm required. Training and demonstrations. An opportunity exists to become the best community on earth at converting plastic waste into Eco-Bricks and then building homes of dignity. We could even host the Grahamstown Eco-Brick Festival and / or Eco-Brick World Championships!

I’m sure there are many great ideas and people who can bring their knowledge and expertise to bear in chasing this opportunity. Please comment and contact us to engage in conversation. Trevor, Paul and I will share further developments and ideas as they arise.


That’s it for now. Be happy and be positive wherever you are. Please keep up your support for Grahamstown. Here’s to the potential of the Eco-Brick Industry in Grahamstown!


PS – Half the Eco-Bricks for the eNkanini project were made and graciously donated by local schools. The balance were purchased from less affluent members of the community who were paid R2.50 per Eco-brick. A standard Eco-Brick is a 2l bottle stuffed with 600g clean and dry plastic waste. It’s a Makana Eco-Brick. Strong and reliable.

PPS – Eco-Brick is but one stratagem to clean Grahamstown. It fits into the broader “Clean Grahamstown Project” which is part of the LED Cluster Circle of Unity Programme



Before moving back to Grahamstown in Oct 2017, Graeme was a bank executive based in the big smoke and craziness of Joburg. He has 20 years’ experience in the Payments Industry. He is a Chartered Accountant, has a Masters in Management by Research (MMR) from Wits Business School, and attended an Advanced Management Programme (AMP) offered by INSEAD (The Business School for the World!) in France.  

Graeme is the founder of The Grahamstown Project. It’s simple. He says, “Grahamstown is a microcosm of South Africa. If we can’t get this place to function properly then the whole country is stuffed. Many of the troubles we experience as a country today have their roots here in Grahamstown. it is here where black and white people first engaged in conflict on the African continent. It is here where 9 wars of dispossession over 100 years took place and virtually destroyed the amaXhosa nation. But we are where we are. I don’t have a British passport and the boat-trip back to where my ancestors came from is exorbitantly expensive. Furthermore, this is my home. I am a son of Africa. We must work together to redress the injustices of the past and move as one into a brighter future.”

Graeme is an avid historian, writer, vlogger and public speaker. Like and follow the Facebook page. Join him on a tour. Contact him. He would love that.