Repurposed products help reduce waste

EcoPlas Australia founder Willie Van Niekerk is reducing waste by creating recycled furniture from repurposed milk bottles and wheelie bins.

Mr Van Niekerk has recycled more than 50,000 milk bottles and 100 wheelie bins which he collects from 30 businesses across the Limestone Coast.

EcoPlas is one of only four businesses in Australia creating furniture from recycled plastic.

“The region’s response towards recycling and EcoPlas has been encouraging,” Mr Van Niekerk said.

“Most community members want to recycle but the common misconception is that if they put something in the recycling bin, they have recycled.

“What they have done there is sorted – even once I have finished manufacturing a new product, it is just reprocessed.

“It is only recycled once someone buys the product which has completed a full cycle.”

Mr Van Niekerk was inspired to create EcoPlas after watching ABC’s War on Waste a few years ago.

“War on Waste really resonated with me, so I was on the lookout for the opportunity to make a difference,” he said.

“My aim is to turn waste into valuable products while working to limit the transportation of waste back and forth to the region.”

Mr Van Niekerk plans to expand EcoPlas Australia to process 100 tonnes of plastic a year as well as delving into soft plastics which is “a big problem for the area”.

“Plastics ending up in landfill is a problem which everyone can help to solve,” he said.

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