Local School Helping Thursday Island Recycle Its Plastic

Posted on
June 4, 2019

A truly a unique and genius plan to handle plastic waste on Thursday Island is well underway.

The Precious Plastics Project is a part of a worldwide initiative which uses specialised machines to shred, re-heat and remould plastics into 3D printer filaments and other useful everyday items.

Located at a local school, Tagai College, the project will not only allow the Thursday Island community to recycle and reuse plastic but allow the students to learn new skills.

“We’re pretty excited about this project”

“We’re pretty excited about this project,” Mr Heffernan, a science teacher at the college said. “Ideally, we could create all sorts of items - from recycled plastic pots to school rulers or phone cases and even structural beams.

“The future benefits, not the least of which are environmental gains, have quite a lot of potential.”

Mr Heffernan said the school aims to create a plastics drop off point for the public, with a nearby workspace which would include a sorting area and a ‘production line’ containing the shredder machine, which turns the plastic into flakes, and the extruder machine which heats the plastic flakes and produces filaments that can be used for 3D printers.

Further processes would involve melting recycled plastics so they can be moulded and compressed to create different items.

From Left: Science teacher at Taigai College,Paul Heffernan, with School Principal SuberiaBowie and Ports North Chairman Russell Beer
The project has been made possible by a $10,000 grant from Ports North.

Ports North Chairman Russell Beer said Tagai College’s innovative plan was exactly the sort of community, education and environment project Ports North wanted to encourage through its sponsorship program.

“We operate and manage nine ports in Far North Queensland, and part of that process is to support the communities in which these ports operate.

“This project ticks all the boxes. It is relatively simple to set up, it benefits the school community, protects the environment and is a means to create useful items from recycled plastic.

“Baseline data already exists on the amount of marine debris washing up on Thursday Island and the volumes of waste taken to landfill, so the Precious Plastics Project can help the community measure how much plastic can be eliminated,” Mr Beer said.

This project really does tick all the boxes, and hopefully, it will encourage more like it throughout Queensland and the nation.

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