Recycling vineyard plastics makes circular economy real

By Peter Roberts There is no doubt the idea of a circular economy, where manufacturers reclaim used materials to make products that can themselves be recycled again and again, is a great idea. But getting from the dream to the reality requires such enormous goodwill and co-ordinated effort from manufacturers and end-users, that it very…

The era of making steel without carbon emissions is here

Analysis by Peter Roberts One of the biggest issues about moving to a carbon-free future has been how to eliminate dangerous emissions from products such as cement and steel that are absolutely vital to the economy. In a sense electricity production was an easy problem to solve using clean renewables compared to the greater industrial…

‘Who are the actual recyclers?’ asks Australian plastics pioneer

In 1992, Mark Yates founded Replas, which makes outdoor products including bollards, decking and furniture, and recycles up to 4,000 tonnes of plastic a year. Yates tells Brent Balinski what to make of the current discussion we’re having around recycling, and about a recent project making handplanes out of reclaimed marine litter.

Defence purchases not linked to economic outcomes

By Peter Roberts Australia has embarked on massive local defence acquisitions without clear linkages to national economic, and ‘perhaps military-strategic impacts’, according to a paper published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Author Rob Bourke, a former economic adviser to the Defence Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group, called for a Productivity Commission inquiry into local…

Teamwork makes the dream work for railway innovator

Stephen Webster’s company has been developing composite railway sleepers from recycled plastic since 2014. He tells Brent Balinski that the development path hasn’t been easy, and that cooperation among companies and government will be essential if circular economy initiatives are going to flourish.      

Today’s waste plastic, tomorrow’s prototype

Brent Balinski spoke to Chris Larkin, CEO and co-founder at PolyLab, about the startup’s origins in humanitarian work and its plans to close the loop for rapid prototyping.   3D printing for prototyping can be expensive and wasteful, with a large amount of unused support material and the prototypes themselves binned after they’ve outlived their…