Yellowwoods Forest to build eco-brick chapel

hile it’s true that plastic is terrible for the environment, there are ingenious clever people out there who have discovered ways to transform plastic from harmful waste into environmentally friendly products.

EARTH BUILDING: Robyn Rohm, right, with Stirling Primary teacher Wesley Renton

Yellowwood Forest is the latest example of this – the popular campsite and restaurant is hoping to use eco-bricks to construct a chapel for the local community.

An eco-brick is a plastic bottle that has been stuffed with plastic until it is packed solid. The bottle can then be used as a low-cost and environmentally friendly building brick, which is exactly what co-owner Robyn Rohm is counting on.

“I’ve always wanted to build a chapel. It’s an excuse to combine my three loves: building, mud, and coloured glass. You won’t believe how beautifully earth buildings lend themselves to additions of colourful plates, bottles and car windscreens,” Rohm said.

Rohm got the idea after reading about Stirling Primary School’s own eco-brick project.

“I’d never heard of an eco-brick before reading about teacher Wesley Renton and pupil Daniel Boucher in the Daily Dispatch.

“I contacted Wesley with the idea that I might be able to share my knowledge of mud building with the [Stirling Primary] pupils. He immediately invited me to the school’s Games Day to give a demonstration,” she said.

To help her with her project, Rohm has joined forces with PE-based architect and founder of environmentally focused business EcoBrick Exchange Ian Dommisse. The two met when Dommisse visited Kei Mouth last December to attend a wedding. While he was there, he decided to go to Yellowwoods Forest after reading about their eco-brick project on social media.

The chapel will serve multiple purposes once it is constructed.

Rohm decided this after they hosted a Wildlife and Environment Societies (WESSA) Green Coast Stewardship programme, which saw attendees learn more about how to promote tourism in an ecologically sustainable way.

“This got me thinking: what if the chapel was a building dedicated not just to worship and wedding ceremonies, but also tourism? What if our chapel was built as an accommodation unit that brought in revenue? What if it was a building so beautiful and full of coloured glass one only had to wheel the bed out and it would serve as a chapel? What if our chapel is built using every conceivable way one can build with eco-bricks and not just mud?” Rohm reflected.

The chapel is still in the planning stages and Rohm said she had has no intention of rushing it. She invited anyone interested in contributing, to drop eco-bricks off at Yellowwoods Forest.

“We need about 9,000 bricks to complete the project,” she said.

For more information, contact Yellowwood Forest at info@ yellowwoodforest.co.za or e-mail Rohm at robyn@yellowwoodsforest.co.za

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