Giving plastic a new life
TURNING plastic bottle lids into recycled products is the core new Ballarat business, Zero Plastics Australia.
After being interested in recycling plastic for years, owners Ashlee and Adam Slater only recently made the leap and kick started the business.
“Five years ago, I was studying my bachelor of science and biology, and my mates and I knew that 3-D printing was going to take off thought we would look at recycled plastic 3-D ink filament,” Mr Slater.
“We did that for a while and hit a financial wall, then one day while I was working at the uni, I tested making a plastic sheet by using a recycled plastic and $20 sandwich toaster and I made it.
“I knew it could be done so we decided to go further down that path and see what else we could do.”
Around a year ago, Mr Slater experienced a severe heart attack while they were expecting their second child, an experience he said lit the fire beneath his feet to turn it into a business.
“I was starting to look into making bigger plastic sheets but I was still working at the uni, so when COVID hit and I had to work from home I decided to just go for it,” he said.
“Now, the plastic lids get shredded up by BRI and we use some of our new machines to fed it in and it melts it down then we press it into either shapes with moulds or sheets with the large hot presses.
“We’ve started branching into more detailed and intricate designs like the hexagon coasters, the dinosaurs, USBs, pots and jewellery.”
Taking care of the online side of things, Ms Slater said so far the business has managed to move and transform almost 500 kilograms of plastic in a year.
“Everything we make is totally made out of recycled bottle caps and we partner with Lids for Kids who are a big community group as well to source those,” she said.
“On most of the items, I have a customisable option as well in terms of the colours you can chose to make your product from so each piece is one of a kind, as individual as our fingerprints.”
In addition to their small production operations, Mr Slater said they are also involved with a charity called SOEL, the Southern Ocean Environmental Link, delivering educational services and packages to kids.
“We’ll go and talk to kids and it’s so much fun, it’s interesting because people are wanting to be educated and are interested,” he said.
“A lot of people want to help and to recycle, but they think just dropping their lids in the yellow bins it’s done but there’s more to be done but selfishly, I just want a cleaner planet for my sons, so I chose to lead by example.
“The amount of people that want to help is brilliant, it’s such a cool community, we want to bring other people’s ideas to life as well, that’s what I want Zero Plastics to become.”
To learn more about Zero Plastic’s mission or to purchase a one-off product, visit zeroplasticsaustralia.com.