From plastic scraps to plant pots: giving new life to your plastic waste

You may be curious as to what happens to the plastic bottles you put in your recycling bin each week, or – if you’re going that one step further – the soft plastics you bundle up and drop off at your local supermarket.

Local Victorian facilities and businesses are turning our plastic waste into new products, such as garden pots and garden planter boxes.

Diverting plastic waste from landfill

Polymer Processors is a recycling facility that collects our plastic waste from household kerbside recycling bins, as well as agricultural and industrial sites. They begin the process to turn this unwanted plastic into new products, diverting 7200 tonnes of plastic materials from landfill each year.

They shred, wash, extrude and turn the plastic into clean pellets, which are sold onto plastic manufacturers to be made into various new products, such as garden pots, landscaping products and boardwalks.

Another recycling facility, Replas, also divert plastic materials from landfill, processing about 3000 tonnes a year. They take soft plastics – from REDcycle soft plastic bins in supermarkets and industry waste – and turn them into useful items like garden planter boxes, furniture and school equipment.

To put this into context: one tonne of plastic is around 25,000 plastic bottles. These recycling facilities are diverting the equivalent of 255 million plastic bottles each year – or 8300 trams filled to the brim with plastic bottles.

It’s a team effort between you – sorting these items correctly in your house and keeping non-recyclable items out of your recycling bin – and local facilities like Polymer Processors and Replas, to divert plastic from landfill.

What goes in your recycling bin

What you do makes a difference, so get to know what you can and can’t put into your recycling bin.

Our online tool will tell you if an item can go in your recycling bin – or if it needs special attention.

For example, in some local council areas, smaller plastic garden pots can be recycled at home – check with your local council. Larger pots and quantities can be dropped off directly at processing facilities, like Polymer Processors in Braeside.

For the recycling-righteous: technical details

We granted Polymer Processors in Braeside $500,000 through our Recycling Industry Transition Support program.

 This grant was invested in a new plastic washing line and waste-water treatment plant. This supports the recycling lifecycle of plastic scrap – which is transformed into resin pellets. These pellets are sold to other businesses to create new household and industrial products. The updated facilities allow Polymer Processors to accept a wider range of plastic waste products to process, produce higher quality pellets and has created five new jobs.

We also granted Replas in Ballarat East, $379,100 through our Resource Recovery Infrastructure Fund.

The grant will expand their operations in Ballarat, adding a second compacting machine. The technology allows for low density plastics such as soft plastic bags and packaging, to be densified so that it can join the remanufacturing cycle. The updated facilities will create seven new jobs in Ballarat and the ability to process even more plastic materials.

Victoria’s transition to a circular economy

Upgrading local recycling facilities like Polymer Processors and Replas supports the transition to a circular economy in Victoria. The aim is to minimise waste and make the most of the resources we have.

The Victorian Government’s 10-year plan will invest more than $300 million to continue to:

  • transform our recycling sector
  • reduce waste
  • create jobs
  • set Victoria up for a more sustainable future.

Read about Victoria’s circular economy policy, Recycling Victoria.

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