Close the Loop unveils new soft plastics manufacturing line

Close the Loop has unveiled a new manufacturing line in Melbourne capable of converting 200,000 tonnes of soft plastic and toner waste into an asphalt additive for roads.

The new facility has the potential to divert two thirds of Australia’s total 300,000 tonnes of soft plastic waste from landfill annually. The TonerPlas asphalt additive comprises the equivalent of 530,000 recycled plastic bags, 168,000 glass bottles and 12,000 recycled toner cartridges per every kilometre of two-lane road.

The company’s product has already been laid on roads in major Melbourne and Sydney hubs in conjunction with integrated services company Downer, with the line opening to commercial scale during National Recycling Week.

Close the Loop Chairman Craig Devlin said the company has been at the forefront of the circular economy for more than 17 years.

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“Our goal of zero waste to landfill has seen us partner with manufacturers through take-back programs across multiple sectors, including printer cartridges, cosmetics and batteries,” Mr Devlin said.

Mr Devlin said its TonerPlas asphalt additive is a great example of how valuable materials can be recycled to not just create new products, but better-quality products.

“The addition of TonerPlas improves the fatigue life of traditional asphalt by 65 per cent, meaning longer lasting roads at a cost-competitive price.

“It also offers superior resistance to deformation over standard conventional asphalt for withstanding heavy vehicular traffic.”

He said that policy changes in China had highlighted the importance of a local recycling industry and improved energy use across the design, use and reuse of products through a circular economy.

Mr Devlin said Australia’s recycling industry needs to invest in future waste solutions with greater infrastructure research to meet problematic landfill demands.

“Our new manufacturing capacity to reuse soft plastics and toner into TonerPlas is a great example of what local companies can do. However, Australia needs to coordinate and invest in infrastructure to build a viable recycling industry,” Mr Delvin said.

“Banning plastic bags is a start, but it doesn’t solve the challenge”.

WA Government to hold plastic bag ban workshops

The Western Australian Government will hold workshops to prepare retailers and consumers for the state’s upcoming ban on singe-use plastic bags, Environment Minister Stephen Dawson has announced.

The ban, which was announced last year, means retailers and suppliers will not be able provide single-use plastic bags for consumers to use after July 1 this year.

The workshops, which will be held in metropolitan and regional WA, are designed to ready residents for the ban.

“These workshops provide an opportunity for people to ask questions and share information on how the ban will work on a day-to-day basis,” Mr Dawson said.

“The government’s plastic bag ban is widely supported by the community and industry. Now you can help us make it work.”

West Australian retailers are being encouraged by the government to stop ordering single-use plastic bags in the lead up to the ban, while consumers are being advised to start bringing reusable bags for their shopping.

Workshops in the metropolitan region will be held across Perth, Connolly, Stirling, Armadale, Fremantle, Midland and Mandurah and in regional centres through Karratha, Kalgoorlie, Bunbury, Narrogin, Albany, Geraldton, Broome and Port Hedland.

More information about the government’s workshops can be found here.

Boomerang Alliance launches Communities Taking Control

A new initiative aiming to end Australia’s reliance on single-use plastics has been announced by the Boomerang Alliance at the Beyond Plastic Pollution Conference in Darling Harbour.

Communities Taking Control aims to empower communities to bring about systematic change and end the reliance on single-use plastics. It will provide passionate groups and individuals with a comprehensive guide, including all the information about tools and platforms, to implement a plastic free community initiative. The guide is based on the collaborative efforts of allies and pilot programmes in Noosa and Wollongong.

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“The impacts of significant pollution from plastic in the environment have begun to seriously alarm scientists, health professionals and communities,” said Jeff Angel, Director of the Boomerang Alliance of 47 groups.

“Our oceans, local waterways, marine and wildlife are being crippled by the sheer volumes of plastic, and with plastic now being found in our food and drinking water, it is clear the human food chain is already contaminated.

“All sectors of our society need to take action, and we’ve been pleased to see government, industry, NGO’s and community members coming together to discuss and collaborate on the solutions to the plastic pollution crisis at the conference. This is the way forward.”

Mr Angel noted that programs are already being developed with local businesses, festivals, schools and other stakeholders to reduce the output of single-use plastic at the source.

“The wide spread adoption of reusable consumer goods, and the transition of businesses towards re-usables and non-plastic alternatives will have a huge positive impact on our environment,” he said.

Communities Taking Control is specifically targeting

  • plastic bottles
  • plastic bags
  • polystyrene and plastic takeaway food containers
  • straws
  • cutlery
  • coffee cups