Soft plastics recycled to create park infrastructure

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Replas spokesperson Darren White with the Alexandra Park bollards. Each bollard is made up of 2,250 pieces of soft plastic.
Replas spokesman Darren White with the Alexandra Park bollards. Each bollard is made up of 2250 pieces of soft plastic.

They might look like run-of-the-mill bollards but did you know the sturdy structures at Alexandra Park are made up of thousands of pieces of recycled soft plastic?

It’s all part of Bundaberg Regional Council’s aim to share the responsibility of creating a sustainable future by being part of an initiative to help complete the full recycling circle.

Waste and recycling portfolio spokesman Cr Scott Rowleson said the soft plastics used to make the bollards were collected through special bins at Woolworths and Coles by a recycling organisation called Redcycle.

“The Redcycle program is a recovery effort for post-consumer soft plastic,” he said.

“The company has teamed up with local Coles and Woolworths stores to make it easy for residents to keep soft plastic packaging out of landfill.

The Redcycle bins can be found at all Woolworths and Coles supermarkets in the region.

“Residents can recycle specific soft plastics into these bins which are then transported to another company called Replas.”

Cr Rowleson said Replas turned the soft plastics into reusable items.

“For example, a plastic bread bag goes from the shop to the household, then back to Coles or Woolworth to a Redcycle plastic collection bin,” he said.

“From there, these bags travel to Replas in Victoria for recycling into bollards which then come back to Bundaberg for use in Alexandra Park.”

Alexandra Park bollards keep soft plastics out of landfill

The bollards are just one of many items which have been created and used in the region.

It’s an initiative more people should know about, according to Redplas spokesman Darren White, who said the recycling game had changed and more awareness was needed.

“The real challenge is making people realise recycling is no longer about putting it into the bin,” he said.

“It's not recycled until it has been turned into something, and that has been the real missing piece of the puzzle for a long time.”

Darren said while the bollards in Alexandra Park were also made up of hard plastics for structural integrity, 250 pieces of soft plastic packaging was used per kilogram of finished product.

“In Alexandra Park each bollard weighs 9kg which means 2250 pieces of soft plastic has been used in every single one,” he said.

“Around the whole park there are more than 400 of these bollards, so that's hundreds of thousands of soft plastics staying out of landfill and being used to manufacture these structures instead.”

Darren said it was items like this that were completing the full circle of recycling.

“A product is not truly recyclable unless it’s made from recyclable materials, as is the case for these bollards,” he said.

“We now understand that we need to find a home for all of this rubbish so that’s what this initiative is doing.

“We applaud those businesses and councils for taking this on and for being true recyclers.”

Darren holds a bag of soft plastics which have helped create the bollards at Alexandra Park.
Darren holds a bag of soft plastics which have helped create the bollards at Alexandra Park.

Get involved in Redcycling

Cr Rowleson said the initiative worked through a whole-of-community approach and urged others to get on board the recycling bandwagon.

“Since changes to the China Sword policy, it's now more important than ever that we as a community look at the circular economy to reuse our resources for as long as possible,” he said.

“A great way of doing this is by supporting businesses that produce Australian recycled products.”

To find out more about the Redcycle process or how and what you can recycle through the special bins, click through to the website here.

1 COMMENT

  1. Excited to hear we can recycle soft plastics in Bundy – great to see the end result in the new bollards at Alexandra Park. Well done BRC.

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