Closing the Loop is no longer a Pandemic Pipedream

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The simple act of buying a speckled stormwater pipe rather than the usual black plastic model has raised hopes that Victoria could emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown with a better approach to recycling.

Kingston Council today diverted the equivalent of 29,000 plastic milk bottles from landfill after choosing to use RPM Pipes 100% recycled stormwater pipe for a drainage project, instead of the non-recycled plastic pipe used in many other projects.

“Every year governments and councils buy huge quantities of plastic and concrete stormwater pipe made from non-recyclable materials, and they have done so for decades,” RPM Pipes Managing Director Terry Kay said.

“Kingston Council is the first to have taken the logical next step to say we need to break through this problem, we have a win for the environment, no compromise on quality or cost and we are going to require our contractors to use recycled pipe in our project.

“It’s a simple step – write the word ‘recycled’ into a tender document and suddenly buying habits have to change.

“Kingston has led the way in Victoria, demonstrating that local and State governments can start to close the loop on recycling now if they choose to – without spending extra or compromising the quality of their infrastructure.

The 60-metre drainage project is the first in Victoria since RPM Pipes were approved for civil construction use beside paved roads by the Victorian Department of Transport almost 18 months ago.

The purchase of 100% recycled stormwater pipe for new drainage at The Corso Reserve in Parkdale is a significant step forward in starting to close the loop for recyclable products.

Kingston Mayor Georgina Oxley said Kingston is proud to be an environmental leader in choosing to use pipe made from recycled plastic for the project at The Corso.

“Like residents across Kingston, I want to know that the milk bottle left behind after my coffee and the detergent bottle that I have just used up are going to be recycled, not sent to landfill,” Cr Oxley said.

“By choosing to use these 100% recycled pipes from RPM Pipes, Kingston is showing it really can lead the way in closing the loop. You can actually see the different colours of waste bottles, broken wheelie bins and a whole range of other plastics that have been sorted, shredded, cleaned and then moulded into heavy-duty drainage pipes.

“This is a great example of local ingenuity contributing to a solution to improve recycling in our State, without costing ratepayers extra money or compromising on the quality of our infrastructure.”

RPM Pipes have produced stormwater pipes from recycled bottles and other plastic waste since 1998 at their factory in Kyabram, in central Victoria. Pipes have been sold to the agricultural and mining sector predominantly, but the onset of the recycling crisis in Victoria demonstrated that a much broader use of recycled products was required, Mr Kay said.

A single length of RPM pipes uses the equivalent of up to 5000 plastic milk bottles, but to get the optimum mix of plastic for each pipe, it also incorporates a range of other recycled plastics, including shampoo bottles, household cleaning bottles and even broken household rubbish bins.

“Each week, Victorians throw out millions of plastic bottles from their homes and they want to see those bottles recycled,” Mr Kay said.

“Our 100% recycled pipe is made from 100% Australian recycled plastic in our regional Victorian factory, but we don’t have the marketing budget or the sales force to change the buying patterns of governments.

“It seems pretty obvious that if we want to emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown with a better economy, then buying a 100% recycled pipe from an Australian company instead of a non-recycled pipe from company that is not Australian-owned is a good start.

“This project is a win for everyone – for Victorian manufacturing, for the Council and for the environment. We hope there will be more projects like this in the near future, that will follow Kingston’s example and demand recycled products are used as long as they compete on quality and price.”

 

RPM facts

  • A single length of RPM pipes uses the equivalent of up to 5,000 milk bottles
  • For every 1 kilometre of RPM pipe laid, RPM recycles the equivalent of 8.3 million milk bottles
  • RPM Pipes have been manufactured by a family company in Lancaster in central Victoria for 22 years
  • Australians drink an average of around two litres of milk each per week. A single length of RPM 630 mm pipe is produced from the equivalent of about 5000 milk bottles.
  • If you laid 5,000 milk bottles end-to-end they would stretch about 1.3 km
  • RPM Pipes could be recycling the equivalent of 500,000 milk bottles each week if more Victorian projects acted to use recycled products first
  • RPM Pipes have been installed in farms, mining operations and earthworks projects around Australia for 22 years
  • RPM CIVIL pipes were granted Department of Transport approval for use beside roads in 2019
  • RPM have been used for a wide range of applications – as table bases for high-end corporate functions, animal troughs for Healesville Sanctuary, and as pipes in Antarctica

 

RPM Pipes are being installed in The Corso Reserve in Parkdale at approximately noon TODAY call Tim Winkler on 0409 551 743 for precise timing and to arrange media interviews.