Medical waste is being transformed into work boots, mud flaps, cables and tubing thanks to the upgrade of a Deer Park recycling operation.
The $720,000 project has been developed by Welvic, which converts waste plastic from domestic and industrial items into multi-purpose pellets.
Welvic operations manager Michael Starcevic said the new recycling line would prevent thousands of tonnes of plastic waste going to landfill, while the company’s processes use a lot less energy than making plastic from raw materials.
“A part of this decision is doing the right thing ahead of community expectation,”
Mr Starcevic said.
“This move is in line with a push to divert waste back into the economy.”
A large portion of the new line’s waste is coming from the Epworth hospital in the form of saline bags, tubing and containers.
Mr Starcevic said the extension to Welvic’s operation had boosted employment.
“The operation has created six additional jobs here, which we’re hoping to expand to eight and then 10 in the near future,” he said.
“At the moment, the process is slightly labor intensive, but once the teething issues are resolved, we’ll look to expand.”
The new facility was partly funded by a $266,962 contribution from the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation and $153,000 from Sustainability Victoria.
Welvic produces about 12,000 tonnes of pellets a year.
The new recycling line has increased the organisation’s output by 1000 tonnes and created the potential for a further 4000 tonnes a year.