Allmould Plastics Group is excited to collaborate in an innovative circular economy research project aiming to solve the challenge of reclaiming non-woven polypropylene.
As a market leader in plastic manufacturing and circular economies, Allmould Plastics Group is delighted to be a contributor to a research project aimed at reclaiming a material that previously went to land fill.
The lifecycle stewardship of non-woven and soft plastics used in hospitals, is key to reduce our environmental footprint throughout the coming years.
“As an environmentally focused company being able to contribute to these innovative research projects and drive better circular economy outcomes, is an essential part of our commitment as a company,” Allmould Plastics Sales and Head of Circular, Scott Cantrill said.
“We are delighted to be working with a like-minded, multi-disciplinary team including UTS, UNSW, 180 Waste Group, The Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence and South-Western Sydney Local Health District to develop and pilot a scalable, circular hospital supply chain model for soft polypropylene.”
At the 2022 Australian Circular Economy Forum in March, the NSW Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology Alister Henskens announced details of sustainable, economically viable and environmentally friendly projects awarded funding. The Circular Economy Challenge Program is designed to foster innovation through the state’s world-leading researchers and organisations, remove barriers and build new sustainable supply chains that minimise or eliminate waste, and generate jobs and investment in new circular industries.
Achieving Circularity: Development of a sustainable and scalable model to recycle and reduce the cost of polypropylene waste in hospitals, was one of two successful projects to receive grants of $200,000. Lead companies are required to match grant funding and provide additional in-kind contributions towards the project.
The forum was hosted by NSW Circular, a state government-funded body whose remit is to embed environment, economic and social goals into its work. CEO Lisa McLean said collaboration is the key to solving the big challenges of transitioning to a circular economy.
“These research projects are proving there are new and better ways to reduce, recycle and reuse waste across many sectors – health, waste management, construction, infrastructure and finance,” Ms McLean said.
About the Project
Allmould Plastics Group has joined with its partners in a project that aims to tackle the challenges presented by waste plastic in Australian hospitals.
Each project partner is ideally placed to consider each critical stage of the supply chain lifecycle, from product supply and manufacture, through to hospital waste management, waste collection, plastics recycling and remanufacture.
This project aims to validate the potential for reducing solid waste and greenhouse gas emissions through recycling, as well as provide a business case for establishing a non-woven polypropylene recovery pathway for hospitals.
NSW public health services generate significant tonnages of waste. Hospital waste in the form of Polypropylene non-woven products such as cubicle curtains and sterilisation wraps are a major contributor. Currently the waste is either incinerated or autoclaved and shredded for landfill and creates a substantial problem for existing supply chains in terms of volume, handling, storage, transport, and end-of-life solutions.
It is possible to recycle this material if it undergoes an approved treatment method. The value of waste Polypropylene is destroyed in the current linear economy but can be recaptured and recycled into new products, enhancing and driving change in the hospital ecosystem towards more circular economy practices.
Our contribution to the project will trial state-of-the-art heat compaction technology used for the first time in Australia, converting this waste into plastic briquettes to be used for recycling into a wide range of products.
“It’s exciting to think we are part of a pilot program that is scalable throughout the hospital networks, for non-woven polypropylene hospital waste by recapturing material value and designing reuse applications,” Mr Cantrill said. “
A key feature of the project is the creation of a co-located processing system which uses 180 Waste’s Sterimelt technology. The technology developed by the UK-based Thermal Compaction Group uses frictional heat treatment to process potentially infectious clinical waste. The temperature inside the Sterimelt chamber exceeds 300°C, killing COVID-19 and other pathogens. The easy-to-use equipment produces a by-product plastic briquette that is sterilised, dehydrated, odourless and achieves up to an 85% reduction in the waste volume. Because Sterimelt technology removes all contamination, the resulting plastic can be reused in a wide range of products, potentially including new hospital products to achieve true circularity through Allmould Plastics processes and facilities.
You can watch the Minister’s announcement here. hyperlink to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvPEQrQwxwY
Further details on the Australian Circular Economy Forum are available here. hyperlink to: https://www.nswcircular.org/aus-ce-forum-2022/