Last week an article titled Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made was published in the Science Advances Journal. The authors calculated the total amount of plastic ever made and put the number at 8.3 billion tonnes. Disturbingly, the authors conclude that if current production and waste management trends continue, roughly 12 billion tonnes of plastic waste will be in landfills or in the natural environment by 2050.
In this newsletter we share some of Sustaining Endeavour’s recent activity and profile the many benefits that plastic products managed within a circular economy can bring.
Recycling – Expect delays, but Please Continue Collection of Plastic for Recycling in the Future
You may have heard that local recycler Plastics Granulating Services, based in Adelaide’s northern suburbs unfortunately and unexpectedly closed their doors last month. Sustaining Endeavour is very grateful to former PGS Director, Stephen Scherer who supported our Recycling and Rebate service, particularly by giving recycling rebates to agricultural growers of all sizes through Sustaining Endeavour. These rebates were in return for over 43 tonnes of plastic waste that growers in the McLaren Vale, Barossa and Langhorne Creek regions collectively retrieved during the last financial year.
A great example of the dedication of regional growers who got involved in the recycling and rebate service is Fiona Habermann of Habermann’s Höhe in the Barossa. Fiona is pictured above with her 800 kg load of polypipe outside PGS in May 2017. Check out some more photos of recycling activity by growers at PGS in May and June this year on the facebook page and don’t forget to give the page a like or share the post.
Adelaide now awaits one or more new plastics recyclers with similar capabilities to PGS to process end-of-life agricultural waste plastic. For growers with well drained space free of vegetation available for storage, Sustaining Endeavour suggest continuation of efforts to recoil dripperline after detaching it from vine-wire. Polypropylene vine-guards that can no longer be reused should be flattening, secured and stacked under cover.
Sustaining Endeavour continues to monitor the development of potential new recycling partners in South Australia and is also considering how it can best adapt its recycling and rebate service and offer other services to continue assisting Growers with their waste management requirements. Please continue to let us know of the amount of end-of-life plastic you have for recycling and we’ll be in touch as soon as we resume our recycling and rebate service and with other services we can offer.
With an eye on the future, late last month Sustaining Endeavour submitted a collaborative Waste Infrastructure funding application for consideration by Green Industries SA. A number of Regional Supply Store partners and others pledged co-funding:
Smyth Road Irrigation in the Barossa; Daish Irrigation in Langhorne Creek; Barossa Grape and Wine Association; and the South Australian Murray Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board, SA MDB NRMB.
The co-funded opportunity being pursued is for two modern and readily transportable recoiling machines that growers can use to safely recoil old dripperline to create dense bundles of polypipe. This will allow maximised density in consignments of polypipe sent to South Australian recycling facilities of the future. Commonly known as poly-winders, the machines are manufactured by Agritech Irrigation Enterprises Pty Ltd who are based in the Riverland.
If successful, the poly-winders will be available to local Growers on a loan basis through their store. Systems and procedures for loan, operation and maintenance will be set up and monitored by Sustaining Endeavour to manage safety and recording the amount of polypipe each Grower has for future recycling through Sustaining Endeavour. Following a review of how successfully the polywinders are utilised, Sustaining Endeavour hopes to apply the insight gained to promote the concept of sharing polywinders to its other Regional Supply Store partners.
Sustaining Endeavour thanks Peter Sontag from Smyth Road Irrigation in Tanunda, Brendan O’Neil from Daish Irrigation in Strathalbyn, Nicki Robbins from Barossa Grape and Wine Association, Lian Jaensch from Langhorne Creek Grape and Wine Incorporated, and Michael Cutting of the SA MDB NRMB – for all recognising the opportunity to support their client/membership/stakeholder base in better managing an ongoing plastic waste problem and supporting a collaborative application.We should know the outcome in coming weeks, so fingers crossed!
Woodshield Vine Posts are the Preferred Post for d’Arenberg
Woodshield were one of the first Sponsoring Manufacturers to put their support behind Sustaining Endeavour. The founders of the business invented their innovative polymer coated timber posts after recognising the opportunity to beneficially utilise high grade recycled polymer derived from old agricultural dripperline.
Sustaining Endeavour have prepared a case study demonstrating the superior strength of Woodshield posts as compared with chemically treated posts, yielding productivity benefits for growers. Woodshield posts don’t pose the toxicity risks that are associated with chemically treated posts and which require close monitoring and management by vineyard managers. Another important benefit for the environment is that when they do reach end-of-life, Woodshield vine posts are readily recyclable .
The case study also profiles an important sustainable winemaking ambassador for the McLaren Vale region, d’Arenberg and describes the benefits they have observed though using Woodshield vine posts. After a process of on-site assessment alongside other types of posts, d’Arenberg selected high quality Woodshield vine posts for use in their vineyard and now have seven years of practical insight into the performance advantages that Woodshield vine posts keep delivering.
d’Arenberg, have tended vineyards in the McLaren Vale since 1912 and produce distinctive wines using traditional methods both in the vineyard and the winery. Their strong environmental and sustainability credentials include biodynamic farming practices and active involvement in the Sustainable Australia Winegrowing Program, SAW, a framework used by Growers in six Australian wine regions for measuring and improving Sustainability Performance. d’Arenberg were also one of the first Growers to use Sustaining Endeavour’s Recycling and Rebate service for recycling old dripperline in the McLaren Vale.
Woodshield are unaffected by the closure of PGS and Ashley is ready, as always, to take orders for their vine posts and other products.
Sustaining Endeavour thank Ashley Davidson from Woodshield and Giulio Dimasi from d’Arenberg for the time they have given towards this case study and their shared advocacy for plastics recycling.
Trident Plastics Strive to keep a Plastic Resource Circulating Locally
A limited number of used plastic ventilated crates are available through Sustaining Endeavour during July and August 2017, or until stocks run out. The crates have inside dimensions of approx 590mm L x 390mm W x 178mm H and are priced at $2.20 each.
The crates, originally made in Europe, were previously used by a flower grower and have been used multiple times but are still fit for a wide range of further uses. The flower grower has now changed their process and requires trays of a different specification which Trident Plastics, an Adelaide based manufacturer will be manufacturing.
Trident Plastics, located in the Adelaide north-western suburb of St Claire, are the largest custom-moulder in South Australia offering a full suite of services from concept development, product design, prototyping, mould making and product manufacture to a diverse range of clients. Trident Plastics have taken custodianship for the old plastic that their new crates will replace and as a result will take back the flower grower’s old crates over the coming weeks.
The old crates were destined for recycling at Plastics Granulating Services, but as outlined above, PGS closed without warning in June 2017. In the temporary absence of a suitable plastics recycling operation in Adelaide, the old re-usable crates are now instead available for re-use through Sustaining Endeavour. Sustaining Endeavour are aiming to see the crates reused within South Australia’s agricultural communities. Farmers who have ordered the crates so far appreciate their ventilated and sturdy qualities as well as the way they easily stack in layers, ideal for storing and chilling produce after harvest. Please contact us with all enquiries.
Sustaining Endeavour thanks Lindsay Gardner of Trident Plastics for his time and oversight in seeing the old plastic crates being graded and sorted. The crates are made from recycled polyethylene which would have reduced the amount of greenhouse gas emissions required in their manufacture by half (as compared with virgin plastic). As the crates are re-used as many times as possible by their new owners, that further reduces the need to manufacture new plastic products and keeps plastic as a resource contributing to farm productivity in our state.
Heroes profiled next time
Our next newsletter will spotlight the exciting results of environmentally dedicated winegrowers and Regional Partners engaged by Sustaining Endeavour in the Langhorne Creek region. We’ll also look at some of the inspiring results being achieved by biodiversity and community projects in the Barossa and Langhorne Creek regions and which Growers have supported through Sustaining Endeavour.
We thanks all Sponsoring Manufacturers who through Sustaining Endeavour have limited the environmental impacts of plastic manufacture and who are part of the ongoing battle against plastic going to landfill or becoming pollution.
Wishing growers throughout South Australia just the right amount of rain!