A local plastic solution with national promise
The MORRISON-McCormack Government is investing almost $2.5 million in local company Plastic Collective to develop a cutting edge solution to recycling waste plastics in remote and regional communities.
The recycling idea is the brainchild of Coffs Harbour woman Louise Hardman, who will now be able to turn Plastic Collective's recycling machine, the Shruder Mk 2 prototype, into larger Shruder Recycling Stations able to recycle 12.5 tonnes of plastic each year.
"This is an amazing research project which can deliver a win for everyone - the environment, local economy and society," Mr Conaghan said.
"Plastic collective is one of 24 projects receiving a total of almost $56 million under Round 8 of the Australian Government's Cooperative Research Centres Projects.
"This program brings industry and researchers together to achieve real-world results and it is part of our plan for a strong economy and better environment."
Plastic Collective Founder and CEO Ms Hardman said she committed to work on plastic recycling after a sea turtle she cared for in 1992 died due to swallowing plastic.
"I was working as a zoologist at that time and when I performed an autopsy on the turtle, I found its stomach and organs were chock full of plastic," Ms Hardman said.
"I thought to myself 'I have to put an end to plastic waste entering the oceans and harming wildlife.
"After that I worked on the concept for the Shruder prototype.
"It is amazing to now be partnering with the Australian Government, Southern Cross University, local engineering firm Camesco Fabrications, Emalte International and South Pole to develop my concept through this grant."
University Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research Mary Spongberg said the project was a perfect fit for Southern Cross University.
"This innovative approach to dealing with waste plastic is exactly the sort of research SCU excels in, bringing expertise created in northern NSW to the world, but most importantly to the people who need it most," Ms Spongberg said.
The Shruder Recycling Stations will be developed by Emalate International CEO Mark Wolf and his team in conjunction with SCU.
SCU Professor Steve Smith will conduct impact studies and monitor marine pollution, while SCU Dr Lachlan Yee will carry out polymer product manufacturing research.