Case Study: Plus Posts (Plastic Forests)
Harry hates to see plastic go to landfill or to be burnt. In Harry’s case, that waste plastic mostly comes in the form of baling twine and silage wrap (think the large plastic rolls you see in freshly harvested paddocks).
Harry is not alone. Like most farmers, he uses a lot of single use plastics. So, when Harry heard about Plastic Forests three years ago, just up the road in Albury, he started to take his agricultural soft plastic waste to the recycling factory.
Harry farms cattle and is an agricultural contractor. Making silage and hay for other farmers is a common task. This gives him a chance to educate them on alternatives to landfill and burning for their silage waste. And sometimes when he can’t get the message across, he carts their used soft plastic to Plastic Forests himself.
Plastic Forests is a multi-award-winning business that recycles post-consumer, post-agricultural and post-industrial soft plastics into a range of products. Their first products were garden edging and cable covers. They then expanded into garden bed kits, stakes and wheel stops – with over 200 different products now available. Late last year they started producing the PLUSPost. This steel-reinforced plastic post has been designed as an alternative to treated pine, concrete or steel fence posts.
Apart from being created from a material otherwise destined for landfill, these posts have some other benefits. Because the steel core is entirely encapsulated in plastic it is great for use in electric fences as the post is fully insulated. PLUSPosts are good for use in acidic soils, which tend to corrode metal posts. And unlike wooden posts they do not rot or splinter.
Like many of the products made by Plastic Forests, PLUSPosts also contain plastic from the REDcycle collections in Coles and Woolworths. Each PLUSPost contains 2-3 kg of REDcycle plastic, depending on the height of the post.
Having spent three years taking his plastic in one direction Harry decided to turn his endeavours into something circular. He now has a fence made from PLUSPosts and is very happy with how they are performing.
In West Gippsland, Steve runs cattle on 120 acres of river flats. He has also installed PLUSPosts. Metal posts were not a viable alternative because his soil is too loose to hold narrow star pickets in place. He needed something bulkier. In the past he has used treated pine. This time he decided to try the plastic posts. Firstly, he knew that many of the pine forest plantations had been destroyed in the bushfires. And he was looking for something with low maintenance as he has a full-time job as well as running his cattle.
He was also aware of the need to create new markets for recycled plastic since China was no longer accepting waste plastic and he did not want his waste to go to landfill.
He is very happy with his fence posts. They look so good that passing farmers are stopping to ask about them. He is about to put a sign on his new fence from Plastic Forests explaining what they are.
For more information on PLUSPosts visit Plastic Forests.