14 February 2020

Little village with a plastic-free goal powers up local recycling shredder

| Elka Wood
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plastic shredder

The plastic shredder, which was created with help from Mick and Chris at MJB Engineering. Photo: Supplied.

Eco innovators in Pambula Village are joining forces and working on inspirational community projects that will boost the uptake of solar energy and could lead to the creation of a beach icon from recycled plastic.

Scott Lipsham, a design and technology teacher at Luman Christi Catholic College, and his students have developed a plastic recycling machine, and they hope the shredded material it produces can be used to manufacture surfboards and other items.

“We’ve spent the last six months building a plastic shredding machine,” Mr Lipsham said. “It can shred plastics like milk cartons and detergent bottles into plastic flakes that can be melted and remoulded.”

Trial runs of the shredder show it “runs like a train!”

While the shredder is in the final stages of completion, Mr Lipsham and his students are starting work on a second machine – an extruder designed to melt the flaked plastic, which is where the surfboard inspiration comes in.

“The soft, hot extruded plastic can be recast into moulds, flattened into sheets, rods, palings, or rolled out and even used as a filament in 3D printers,” Mr Lipsham said.

shredder machine testing

An earlier, temporary iteration of the shredder machine testing the motor and overall function. Photo: Supplied.

It’s part of a community effort supported by the Mumbulla Foundation, Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast, Lumen Christi Catholic College and MJB Engineering of Pambula.

The Pambula Chamber of Commerce and environmental non-profit Forces For Nature have also lent their support to the plastic-free Pambula initiative, and they are driving the uptake of solar power on private residences.

Using the work of Tathra group Clean Energy For Eternity as inspiration, they are developing a community solar renewable energy plan, which is supported by local business Lakeside Electrical.

“We’ve partnered with Lakeside Electrical to achieve a huge uptake in domestic solar and in return this local company has offered to install a solar system on the roof of a local public building,” Forces For Nature representative Mick Brosnan said.

To be part of Pambula’s bulk solar project, contact [email protected]

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Come and see the machine in action at the Sapphire Coast Sustainability Festival, Wolumla Hall Feb 29th 10am to 4pm.

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