One tonne of plastics from pool inflatables has been saved from landfill and recycled into bags and purses thanks to the local team at PLOYS.
Carin and Gerhard Sandker established their Bundaberg business three years ago after what started as a desire to turn their own old and unused pool inflatables into something practical.
Since then, the duo has been cleaning, cutting and sewing inflatables from right around Australia and turning them into bags and other accessories, saving the plastic from ending up at dumps or in the ocean.
PLOYS recycling milestone a shock
Never did the couple imagine they would reach a one tonne milestone.
“In preparation for summer we did a stocktake of how many pool inflatables we have saved from landfill,” Carin said.
“We always kept on saying we saved about 250kg, as we never truly did the count, yet what the heck – it's way more!”
The duo said the pool inflatable plastic had come from the Bundaberg Region and right round Australia, including:
- 200kg from Brisbane through the Tarragindi Community Gardens recycle bin
- 20kg via I'm Plastic Free and Too Much Stuff in Darwin
- 50kg through Walk About Creek in Enoggerra
- 30kg from Banana Shire Council through their banner recycling
- 20kg via @halve_waste from Albury Waste Management saved out of Lake Hume/Murray river in Albury Wodonga
- 10kg via Bundaberg Organic and Quality Foods, DNA Swim Academy and Artisan4670 in Bundaberg
- 10kg from our Caloundra collection point
- 10kg via Recycled Mats in Tweed Heads
- 298kg from customers throughout Australia direct to PLOYS
- 172kg Sunnylife community recycle program
- 180kg from Wahu
Once the pool toys are cleaned, Carin said she got to work to cut the patterns and sew them into bags, purses and accessories.
“In this process we take care to use the right sewing machine foot and stitch length and we reinforce seams to ensure the bag is a quality product that's going to last,” she said.
“The reward is in seeing that all this non-mainstream recycle plastic is reused and repurposed and that we get glowing feedback from customers when they purchase their bag and see the versatility of weather and water resistant PVC recycled bags.”
PLOYS recycling keeps plastic from landfill
Carin said the mission to save the environment from plastic pollution was slowly but surely circulating in the community.
“We get wonderful feedback and so many people are happy to post or drop us there punctured pool inflatables, knowing that we reuse them instead of throwing them into their general waste bin,” she said.
“Initially we saw more uptake of our circular loop business model in bigger cities such as Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, yet we have seen a shift in the last few years that now here in Bundaberg and our regional area.
“More people have become environmentally aware and love our product and see the value of paying a bit more for handmade recycled product, which makes it viable for us to exist next to highly competitive large chain warehouse businesses.”
Carin said she she was proud to have established a business that was working hard to benefit the environment.
“When I delved into the problem of plastic waste, particularly soft PVC, I was shocked to learn that it takes up to one thousand years for it to disintegrate,” she said.
“It made it clear for us that we had to do something.
“It is fabulous to know now that in nearly three years of operation we have prevented one tonne of pool inflatables from impacting our environment.”