The following media release was originally published by Plastic Collective – view the original here.
Plastic Collective and its partners, South Pole, Southern Cross University and Emalte, are the recipients of an Australian Government Collaborative Research Centre (CRC-P) grant to research and develop waste plastic solutions for remote, regional and Indigenous communities. This is a plastic recovery solution designed to operate profitably and sustainably, delivering significant positive environmental, economic and social outcomes.
The CRC-P grant will enable our team to develop mobile plastic recycling containers or Shruder Recycling Stations (SRS) which can process hard and soft single-use plastics into valuable products. The SRS's will include both hardware stacks and cutting-edge software applications, connecting remote communities to a global ethically-recycled plastic marketplace and facilitating authentic plastic circular economies.
Plastic Collective, now based at the National Marine Science Centre (NMSC), Coffs Harbour, NSW, has partnered with researchers, engineers and designers from Southern Cross University, Emalte International and South Pole for this project.
" Plastic waste is a global problem. Its impact on some of the world's most vulnerable populations is devastating. This project aims to not only mitigate plastic waste as a problem for Indigenous communities; it will connect remote communities to an international ethically recycled plastics marketplace and facilitate a real plastic circular economy. This innovative approach to dealing with waste plastic is exactly the sort of research SCU excels in, bringing expertise created in the Northern Rivers to the world, but most importantly to the people who need it most," said Mary Spongberg, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research at SCU.
" Collaboration with partners is essential to solving global problems, we can't do it alone. For this project our partnership with Southern Cross University, Emalte International and South Pole is powerful, as they are all leading experts in their field and together we will develop an innovative cutting edge solution that provides remote and regional communities with a practical sustainable solution to waste plastic," said Louise Hardman, Founder/ CEO of Plastic Collective.
Engineering company Emalte (Environmental Data Acquisitions) partnered with Plastic Collective (The Pacific Collective) since 2017, commercializing the original Shruder™ and delivering pilot programs in Bali, Borneo and Whitsundays.
"Our plan is to develop a recycling station that is self sustaining with respect to power and water requirements, and equipped with a comprehensive monitoring and control system which is locally and remotely managed using innovative cloud based technology," said Mark Wolf, CEO of Emalte.
Two expert research teams from Southern Cross University will be led by Prof. Steve Smith, (Environmental monitoring and marine pollution) and Dr Lachlan Yee, (Polymer manufacturing).
" Infrastructure for dealing with waste is lacking in many small communities – yet these communities dominate many areas of the world and potentially contribute strongly to global waste entering the ocean. Developing packaged technology for use at these scales will therefore have wide application and will make an important contribution to world efforts to combat marine plastic pollution," said Professor Steve Smith.
" My team and I will form a group that can provide the scientific knowledge necessary to take plastic waste and produce valuable products after processing. However, the processing and the products will need to be compatible with the local community's needs, practical engineering and a circular economical, as well as environmental philosophy. Hence, we will be working closely with the teams leading up engineering as well as socio-economic engagement," said Dr Lachlan Yee.
South Pole, successful global climate solutions provider and founding member of the 3R Initiative, will focus on measurement, reporting and verifying impacts related to plastic collection and recycling. Informed by their long-standing experience in carbon markets, South Pole will co-develop a corporate accounting and project standard for small recycling activities. By fostering transparency and accountability around circular plastic economics, an incentive mechanism for plastic recovery will be created to develop project standards for ethical plastic processing in remote communities.
" South Pole recognises the need to address the challenges of plastic pollution at the local level – particularly in vulnerable, remote communities. We are proud to partner with Plastic Collective on this exciting local initiative, providing small-scale solutions that add up to a lasting global impact," said Tom Schroder, Head of Climate Action at South Pole.
The fact that remote, regional and lower socioeconomic areas on our planet lack the mechanical, scientific and economic resources to deal with the scourge of discarded plastic means there is an immediate need for our project solution. Ultimately this will create a harmonious solution to plastic waste that empowers communities to manage their plastic material streams, for people, planet and prosperity.