Two schools join Plastic Police Program

Ash Dam on Lake Macquarie

Budgewoi Public School students aim to turn lunchbox waste into new roads.

Plastic Police’s Lexi Crouch and Samantha Cross
Photo: James Miller Films

The school has joined Council’s Plastic Police program, under which common lunchbox waste such as chip packets, muesli bar wrappers and sandwich bags, will be recycled into road resurfacing product, Reconophalt.

Budgewoi PS is one of two Coast schools to join the program, with St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School at East Gosford being the other.

Council’s Director, Roads Transport Drainage and Waste, Boris Bolgoff, said roads outside both schools had been renewed using Reconophalt during the summer school holidays to ensure there was no disruption to school communities.

“As a result of high traffic flow, school drop off points require an increased amount of road maintenance,” Bolgoff said.
“There are added benefits to using Reconophalt in our road projects beyond the reduction in waste, as they become more durable with the plastic added.

“The formulated mixture of recycled products in Reconophalt increases the lifespan of the road, as it is less likely to buckle and crack.

“One of the most common questions we have received from the community since we have started the trial is how they can get involved, which we will announce in the coming months,” he said.

The Reconophalt used to pave each of these streets, when combined with bitumen, contained 15 per cent recycled materials.

Director of the Plastic Police program, Samantha Cross, said she was thrilled to see the program expand into schools and is looking forward to seeing the collaboration with Council progress.

“Central Coast was the first Council to come on board following our initial trial and we are really excited about what we will be able to achieve this year as the program expands,” Cross said.

“We are passionate about further educating these school communities about the simple actions they can take to help further reduce the waste sent to landfill.

“Plastic is a major environmental issue, with almost every piece ever created still in existence, much of which has found its way into our oceans wreaking havoc on our marine life.

“What we hope to achieve through this program is to provide an opportunity for soft plastics to be recycled into useful products, while educating and inspiring communities to reduce plastic waste so together we can create a better future for our planet and ourselves,” she added.

Schools interested in taking part are encouraged to obtain more information and get in contact via Plastic Police’s website.

Mayor Matthews said it was fantastic to see community, business and government coming together to create real change to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.

“This is an incredible initiative that sees waste generated here, recycled here, and a given a new life here for the benefit of our residents.

“This is an example of a truly local close-the-loop resource recovery solution put into practice, and it is inspiring to see our young people take the lead.

“Council are in the final stages of putting together the draft Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy, which will be placed on public exhibition soon.

“I am eager to see what other tangible outcomes will be investigated in the future to help reinforce positive behaviour changes in our community to reduce waste,” Mayor Matthews said.

Media release, Feb 12
Central Coast Council Media