Plastic Eco-Brick Proposal Wins Dubai Resident a UN Citizen Ambassadorship

plastic, plastic waste, eco-bricks, eco-building, green building, dubai, hug it forward, green design, pollution Dubai-based Jonathan Eric Defante plastic “eco-brick” pitch won him a UN Citizen Ambassadorship. 

Jonathan Eric Defante submitted his “One Bottle, One Life” YouTube pitch to the United Nations as a potential solution for poor recycling performance around the world.

The Filipino man living in Dubai suggested that people can build their own homes made out of discarded plastic bottles or “eco bricks,” thus empowering themselves and keeping plastic waste out of landfills.

One of three new UN Citizen Ambassadors, Defante takes his ideas from the Hug It Forward campaign that has already built 14 schools out of plastic in low-income communities. Step in for a look at the “proudly Dubai” pitch and script that won the UN’s confidence.


Hug it Forward constructs perfectly sound learning facilities that are then insulated with recycled plastic, chicken wire, and cement. According to their website,

In our first project in Granados, Guatemala, in October 2009, over 5,000 plastic bottles were used to build two classrooms, containing 2053 lbs of trash and using 9720 lbs of cement. 297 children and youth currently attend the school, which serves a municipality of 13,860 people throughout 95.75 square miles.

Since then, 13 new schools have been erected using this method, diverting thousands of pounds of plastic waste from landfills and providing safe and sustainable classrooms for underprivileged students.

Defante believes this same technique can be used to create model communities in every nation in order to raise awareness of the need to recycle and create long-lasting sustainable solutions. This is the script he delivered to the United Nations via YouTube:

Excuse me Mr. Secretary-General. Every year more than 75% or about 2.7 million tons of plastic bottles end up in landfills. The message across the globe about recycling is not strong enough. So let’s create a MODEL COMMUNITY in EVERY NATION, made out of used plastic bottles or “Eco Bricks”, built by people themselves and are sustained by livelihood from recycled plastic bottles. The communities can be organized into cooperatives to enable them sustain their livelihood for years to come, changing lives one bottle at a time.

According to Gulf News, on average people in Dubai and the neighboring Emirates go through up to 450 plastic bottles each year – particularly since they lack freshwater resources and rely so heavily on desalination. But residents of Gulf countries have been slow to catch on to recycling their plastic waste and much of it ends up brewing under the hot desert sun.

Defante hopes to change all of this by turning trash into a valuable resource, and as a respected UN Citizen Ambassador with a two year post, he might just stand half a chance.

:: Gulf News

More on plastic waste in the Middle East:

Ugly Plastic Windows Become Chic Minimalist Furniture Pieces

15 Year Olds Pocket Money Can’t Save Camels Killed by Plastic

Will Bridges of Plastic Waste Work in the Middle East?

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