Plastic Forests releases product made entirely from recycled plastic film

In an attempt to address the issue of plastic waste, Plastic Forests have developed the Mini Wheel Stop – Australia’s first recycled product for inside the home made entirely from mixed plastic film.

Plastic Forests Managing Director David Hodge said Australia generates an estimated 2.5 million tonnes of plastic waste every year, but currently only has the capacity to recycle 12 per cent.

According to Mr Hodge, the situation is worse for contaminated plastic film, with less than one per cent being recycled.

Mr Hodge said wide spread manufacturing of the Mini Wheel Stop could enable the diversion of 8.8 million kilograms of plastic film waste from landfill – 12 per cent of the total plastic waste exported to Malaysia last year.

For the past 20 years Australia has sent its plastic waste to cheap reprocessing operations in China, Vietnam, Malaysia and India.

“With thousands of poor backyard operations using basic technology, the unusable plastic was simply buried, burned or washed into rivers causing widespread environmental pollution,” Mr Hodge said.

“In January 2018 China effectively banned the importation of the world’s plastic waste, imposing strict contamination regulations. Now much of Australia’s plastic waste has nowhere to go other than landfill.”

Although there is some capacity in Australia for recycling PET, HDPE and cartons, there is little built capacity for recycling plastic film such as plastic bags and packaging.

The Mini Wheel Stop is designed as a parking marker for the garage floor, enabling car owners to stop guessing whether they are parking in the right spot, and preventing damage to the car, walls and belongings.

Each Mini Wheel Stop is made in Australia with the equivalent of 155 plastic bags, thereby locally recycling the mixed plastic film waste previously exported to China, Vietnam, Malaysia and India.

“It’s important that people realise recycling doesn’t end when we put out our recycling bin, it’s a complex issue, but at the end of the day, recycling only works when someone buys a recycled product,” Mr Hodge said.

“Our hope is that some big retailers will support us by stocking our new Mini Wheel Stop, it could even be made from their own plastic waste and branded – enabling us to divert more plastic from landfill and create a circular economy.”

Mr Hodge said while plastic is creating devastating effects for oceans and the environment, it also enables the 21st century lifestyle.

“As a society, we need to think smarter about how we use plastic through its whole life cycle, creating circular economies and reducing our plastic use wherever possible,” Mr Hodge said.

“In a world of limited resources plastic recycling is an important part of the story. We need individuals, corporates and government to buy Australian products made with recycled content.”

Plastic Forests have recently invested in a new site in Albury NSW, which Mr Hodge said will significantly ramp up the company’s reprocessing capabilities.

“Our new five acre industrial facility will allow us to further expand our recycling capabilities and manufacture additional products, keeping ‘plastic as plastic’ and out of landfill,” Mr Hodge said.

Plastic Forests was the recipient of a grant from the NSW EPA’s ‘Waste Less Recycle More’ $802 million initiative in 2016.

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Queensland to host Asia-Pacific Climate Week

The Queensland Government has announced it will host representatives from across Australia and Asia-Pacific at Queensland’s first Climate Week from 2-8 June.

At the Circular Economy: It’s Our Future forum this week, Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said the state government was committed to driving conversations about tackling climate change and improving waste management.

“Climate Week Queensland is an opportunity for our state to showcase its credentials in the climate change policy space both domestically and internationally,” Ms Enoch said.

“The Queensland Government has committed to a target of zero net emissions by 2050, with an interim target of reducing emissions by at least 30 per cent by 2030.”

Ms Enoch said the event would provide an example of what needs to be done across the globe.

“We know we need to move to a more circular way of thinking when it comes to waste management — where waste is considered a valuable resource instead of the current method where we ‘take, make and dispose,’ Ms Enoch said.

“Share knowledge, discuss how a circular economy can combat climate change, and examine ways to make this happen.”

Ms Enoch said the state government’s draft Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy will help put Queensland on the path towards a circular economy.

“This long-term strategy includes initiatives such as the container refund scheme and the ban on single-use plastic bags, and focuses on shifting attitudes to encourage more recycling and a re-use mindset,” Ms Enoch said.

“Our strategy, which is underpinned by a waste levy on landfill that will come into effect on 1 July, will grow the recycling and resource recovery sector, while reducing the amount of waste ending up in landfill.”

Ms Enoch said this shift towards a circular economy is key to combating climate change and aligns with state government plans for a more sustainable, low carbon economy.

“It was great to hear at the forum how entrepreneurs, start-ups and researchers have been contributing to the development of a circular economy in Queensland,” Ms Enoch said.

“Important initiatives that change how we think about, better use, and manage materials, resources and waste are critical to a future that supports new industries and creates more jobs.”

Climate week activities will include a public program of arts, music, and panel discussions, a First Nations summit and climate leadership training with Al Gore.

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Cairns material recovery facility receives $6.9 million for upgrades

Cairns’ material recovery facility will soon have double the processing capacity after a $6.9 million award for upgrade works.

The facility will receive $3 million from round four of the Queensland Government’s $295 million Building our Regions (BoR) program, and $3 million from Cairns Regional Council.

Member for Cairns Michael Healy said the facility improvements would lead to better recovery and recycling results for Cairns, and support more than 22 jobs during upgrade works.

“The upgraded infrastructure will allow the facility to double its processing capacity to 30,000 tonnes of recycling,” Mr Healy said.

“This will see a significant jump in waste diversion from landfill, which will increase to a whopping 90 per cent – up 40 per cent from current figures.”

Mr Healy said work would soon begin to extend the receival hall, with a new glass sorting and processing plant to follow.

“Reducing landfill waste aligns with the state governments objectives, as well as our new resource recovery and waste strategy, and Queensland’s Container Deposit Scheme,” Mr Healy said.

State Development Minister Cameron Dick said local recycling opportunities created by the upgraded facility would be significant.

“We’ll see more items collected locally, diverted from landfill and, where viable, recycled – all here in Cairns,” Mr Dick said.

“This is a smart, circular approach that will raise the quality of recycling in our state and give us better access to relevant global export markets.”

Mr Dick said the scaled-up facility will help lessen the region’s environmental footprint and lower the cost of recycling for the far north.

“It will also potentially allow the city to participate in recycling collection services from other local governments and commercial premises,” Mr Dick said.

Cairns Regional Council Mayor Bob Manning said the new infrastructure would increase the facility’s viability, and create an economic opportunity to decrease waste while improving recycling rates.

“We know our community takes its environmental responsibilities seriously given where we live. This much needed upgrade to the material recovery facility will provide fantastic benefits to Cairns and the region,” Mr Manning said.

“It will not only allow us to significantly increase the recovery rate of recyclables, but also as a consequence significantly reduce the amount of waste needing to go to landfill.”

Round 4 of BoR will see the state government partner with 37 councils on 49 projects, work Mr Manning said would create an estimated 657 jobs.

Under previous rounds, the program has allocated $225 million to 174 critical infrastructure projects across the state generating 1762 jobs and attracting additional investment of $353.5 million from councils and other organisations.

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ACT proposes single-use plastic ban

The ACT Government has released a discussion paper asking for contributions from the community on phasing out single-use plastics.

City Services Minister Chris Steel said the state could no longer ignore responsibility for plastics that litter the environment.

“Single-use plastic is commonly used for food packaging and includes items intended to be used only once before they are thrown away,” Mr Steel said.

“Single-use plastic litters our waterways, city parks and bush landscapes and goes into landfill where it may take hundreds or even thousands of years to break down.”

Mr Steel said the paper asks the community which problematic and unnecessary single-use plastics government should focus on including plastic straws and cutlery, disposable plates, cups and coffee lids, polystyrene plastic food containers and beverage cups and other non-recyclable plastics.

Proposed items that will be excluded from government action at this time include sanitary items, nappies and incontinence products, reusable plastic bags roughly 35 microns in thickness, health related sterile items, plastic beverage containers and microbeads — which are already being phased out by the territory.

“We are taking real action to become Australia’s most sustainable city,” Mr Steel said.

The European Parliament last year voted to ban single-use plastics in the EU by 2021.

Similarly, South Australia and the City of Hobart are also looking at phasing out single-use plastics.

“It is time that the ACT takes responsible action to reduce single-use plastics and build a circular economy where we reduce our reliance on these products and move to better alternatives,” Mr Steel said.

According to Mr Steel, while the ACT has already acted to reduce single-use plastic bags, through the introduction of the plastic shopping bag ban in 2011, it has the opportunity to do more to reduce the territory’s plastic footprint.

“It is still common place to see takeaway shops continuing to use plastic-foam takeaway containers like it is still the 1980s. Supermarkets also continue to sell plastic plates, cups and cutlery – when it seems like there are clear alternatives already being sold on their own shelves,” Mr Steel said.

“We want to hear from the community about how we can reduce the use of certain single-use plastics where there are clear alternatives that are good for the environment and practical for business, industry and consumers.”

Mr Steel said any decisions to phase-out single use plastics will likely have impacts on business, institutions and ACT residents, including people with a disability, and invites these groups to contribute to the discussion.

“We know from the plastic straw ban in other parts of the world that we need to consider the social equity impact on people with a disability, and I welcome their contribution on how we can responsibly manage our environment while taking these issues into account,” Mr Steel said.

“I encourage all interested or affected Canberrans to join the conversation and tell us their ideas about what they would like us to consider in phasing-out unnecessary and problematic single-use plastics.”

The ACT discussion paper follows a similar announcement in Western Australia last week, with Minister for the Environment Stephen Dawson asking the public to contribute to the Let’s Not Draw the Short Straw – Reduce Single-Use Plastics paper.

Last year the Western Australian government banned lightweight plastic bags and instructed government agencies to stop buying avoidable single-use plastic items.

Mr Dawson also announced a funding partnership between the state government and the Plastic Free Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation committed to the reduction of plastic use in every day life.

The Plastic Free Foundation has been awarded $326,725 in state government funding, with an extra $484,126 coming from Lotterywest, to engage individuals and communities in in the state to reduce plastic waste.

“Waste problems are a shared legacy. The state government wants to hear your practical ideas on how to avoid and reduce single-use plastics so we can protect our environment for future generations,” Mr Dawson said.

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BINGO unveils West Melbourne Resource Recovery Centre

BINGO Industries has unveiled its upgraded resource recovery centre in West Melbourne, including a new plant, weighbridge, safety and structural improvements.

The upgraded recycling centre is set to become an important asset within Victoria’s network of recycling infrastructure with BINGO targeting a resource recovery rate of over 75 per cent.

BINGO entered the Victorian market in 2017 through several strategic acquisitions. In the last 12 months, the company has invested in excess of $50 million in acquisitions and committed an additional $50 million for upgrades of local waste management businesses and poorly managed post-collections assets.

BINGO has invested over AUD$20 million in the redevelopment of the West Melbourne site. Upgrades to the facility also include upgrades to the electrical and fire protection systems, including thermal cameras.

BINGO Managing Director and CEO Daniel Tartak said that despite being a relatively new entrant into the market, the company is confident that it has the ability and know-how to be stewards for change and lead the Victorian recycling market to achieve enhanced sustainability outcomes.

“The upgraded facility is a great example of what BINGO is able to achieve in transforming previously poorly-managed post collections assets. Large-scale infrastructure projects like this one will help reduce Victoria’s dependence on landfills, create new jobs and drive further investment in recycling facilities,” Mr Tartak said.

Victoria’s population and economic growth is fuelling increases in waste volumes. The state is expected to be producing 21 million tonnes of waste per year by 2044, with metropolitan Melbourne accounting for 80 per cent of the state’s waste generation.

BINGO now operates five recycling facilities in Victoria, located at Braeside, Dandenong, Campbellfield, Clayton South and West Melbourne, as well as the TORO Waste Equipment manufacturing facility at Braeside.

BINGO’s Victorian footprint continues to grow, with the company now operating a fleet of 100 trucks and employing over 130 staff. A significant pipeline of both building and demolition and commercial and industrial revenue has been identified in Victoria, and this market remains a key area of focus for BINGO in realising its vision for a waste-free Australia.

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Volvo L110H and L120H wheel loaders

Volvo L110H and L120H wheel loaders were developed to boost productivity and lower costs for operators. 

Whether it’s the L120H for increased load capacity or the L110H for smaller movements onsite, the machines take advantage of equipment supplier CJD’s authorised partnership with Volvo CE. This is also bolstered by nationwide branches of dealers and service agents.

With low energy consumption, ease of use and durability, the machines leverage Volvo’s 180 years of experience as a leading construction equipment provider.

The machine’s unique OptiShift technology works to reduce fuel consumption by up to 18 per cent and increase machine performance. A reverse by braking function senses the loader’s direction and slows the machine when the operator needs to change direction. It does so by reducing engine revolutions and applying service brakes automatically, while increasing operator comfort and reducing stress on the drive train.

Productivity, reliability and power is delivered by a premium Volvo Tier 4 Final/Stage IV engine, which meets emissions regulations and offers high performance and low fuel consumption. 

A spacious, safe and quiet environment unlocks productivity with all-round visibility and a comfortable seat. Within the cab is twin level control for ease of operation, an information panel with vital information such as fuel levels and warnings and safe access via a three-point access ladder with anti-slip steps.

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