PLHS Joins the Circular Plastics Economy

L-R: PLHS Governing Council Chairperson Mr. Brian Gabb, PLHS Principal Student Leader Mitchell Paterson, SABRN Director Dr. Abe Chandra & PLHS Principal Mr. Todd George.

An exciting new initiative was officially launched at PLHS earlier today – in partnership with South Australian start-up SABRN Circular, we have established a collection point for three types of domestic plastic (types 2, 4 and 5) for the purpose of re-manufacturing at SABRN Circular’s new Port Lincoln plant, the first of its kind in SA.

SABRN Circular staged an impressive company launch at their Pine Freezers Road facility this morning, with PLHS Principal Mr. Todd George and Principal Student Leaders Nell Cane and Mitchell Paterson amongst the invited guests in attendance.

This afternoon, a similar event was staged inside the PLHS Specialist Building, which now houses an innovative plastics collection station built by SABRN’s Port Lincoln-based General Manager Mr. James Howatt.

PLHS Principal Mr. Todd George said the arrangement was a very positive one for our school community: “As of today, we will be working with SABRN Circular as a collection point for discarded plastics, taking them out of the landfill stream and providing them to SABRN where they will be re-manufactured into products of value.”

He went on to explain the numerous upsides for PLHS in this arrangement:

  • “It fits well with our campaign to keep the school grounds and surrounding areas free of litter and other plastic rubbish;
  • It educates our students, their parents and the broader community into what the circular economy is, how it works and how they can contribute;
  • It involves and engages students in understanding sustainability and how everyone can contribute to safeguarding the environment and combatting climate change;
  • It demonstrates a practical way of working on general environmental matters; and
  • Some of the remanufactured materials will come back to the school as creative products for our tech, design and art classes”.

By co-locating upstream and downstream manufacturing, Adelaide-based founder and surgeon Dr. Abe Chandra aims to bring an entirely new industry category to the Lower Eyre Peninsula. He explained: “Our process in Port Lincoln will initially produce plastic sheets which will have a wide variety of uses in commerce and the arts, and later we will move to high-value filaments to be used in 3D printers.

We aim to reutilise and remanufacture at least five types of common plastics: type 1 (PET/polyester); type 2 (HDPE); type 4 (LDPE); type 5 (polypropylene) and type 7 (polycarbonate, polylactic acid, ABS and nylon). Diversion of these materials from landfill will significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the region. With this will come opportunities for education about addressing one of the ‘wicked’ problems in our society, and provide our students, the future of our planet, to be better prepared.

We take our role in the community very seriously. That is why we are so pleased to be working with Port Lincoln High School in both sourcing materials and in helping students understand the importance of re-using materials, understand the principles of the circular economy, and how each individual can make a positive contribution to the health of our planet.

In time, we will be using Virtual Reality technologies to create immersive experiences for students, highlighting the pervasive issues resulting from plastics pollution such as increased CO2, methane and hydrocarbon release, global warming, climate change and scarcity of food and water, and encouraging innovative ways to stop and reverse these mechanisms that are so destructive to Planetary Health”.

To contribute to Port Lincoln’s new circular plastics economy, PLHS staff, students and families are urged to follow this simple three-step process:

  • Step 1:  Find a type 2, 4 or 5 symbol on any domestic plastic item
  • Step 2:  Remove any product labels and wash/rinse thoroughly
  • Step 3:  Add the plastic items to the correct section (2, 4 or 5) of the PLHS collection point
SABRN’s founding Director Dr. Abe Chandra cuts the ribbon on the new plastics collection point in the PLHS Specialist Building as Principal Mr. Todd George looks on.

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