FCS is proud to announce our involvement in Australia’s first Indigenous-run marine plastic recycling enterprise, transforming waste plastic into functional products.
The project will be funded by the Gowings Whale Trust, a not for profit environmental organisation supported through donations of the FCS 1% Supporting Our Oceans initiative.
The MiiMi Aboriginal Corporation will run a recycling operation on the north coast of NSW facilitated by the Plastic Collective to give recycled plastic a new life – out of our waterways and off our beaches.
“This partnership has the potential to be a really transformative project,” says Plastic Collective founder and CEO, Louise Hardman. “It will help employ local people and protect marine animals, while demonstrating what a circular economy looks like.”
Plastic recovered by Aboriginal Sea Rangers will be broken down and turned into plastic pellets by the MiiMi Corporation. The process is funded by a donation of $167,000 from the Gowings Whale Trust to purchase a Shruder Recycling Station, with equipment stack designed by the Plastic Collective team. The pellets will then be purchased by FCS for the creation of surfboard fins and surf accessories.
Completing the circle, FCS donate 1% of profits back to the Gowings Whale Trust, to fund projects like the MiiMi endeavour.
Managing Director of Gowings and founder of Gowings Whale Trust, John Gowing, says he’s excited about the venture’s potential.
“One of the Whale Trust’s key objectives is to improve the quality of the ocean for whales and all marine creatures,” he explains. “We hope to use some of the recycled plastic to make products for our surfing business, FCS.”
As well as ocean and river plastic from the Nambucca Valley, a consistent supply of waste plastic has been secured from ports on the east coast of Australia. Plastic collection points will also be set up at Gowings’ shopping centre, Coffs Central.
Plastic Collective has established similar micro-enterprises in Indonesia, Malaysia and on the Whitsunday Islands. But Louise Hardman has long wanted to start a project close to home.
“I’m really happy because I feel like I’ve come full circle,” Louise says. “Having grown up in Coffs Harbour, I’ve had a strong relationship with the marine park, the wildlife, the turtles — this is the project I’ve been hoping for, for a long time.”