• l-r The original Great Plastic Rescue was the brainchild of circular economy entrepreneurs Amy Cobb and Bronwyn Voyce. Image: Great Plastic Rescue.
    l-r The original Great Plastic Rescue was the brainchild of circular economy entrepreneurs Amy Cobb and Bronwyn Voyce. Image: Great Plastic Rescue.
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Great Plastic Rescue founder Bronwyn Voyce, and Australia’s 100 per cent carbon neutral shipper Sendle, have launched a state-wide rescue mission to save and recycle obsolete stock from small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs).

OzHarvest donating single-use plastic items. Image: Great Plastic Rescue.
OzHarvest donating single-use plastic items.
Image: Great Plastic Rescue.

The task coincides with the NSW government’s ban on lightweight single use plastics shopping bags, which is now in full effect, with the duo set to help as many SMEs as possible to donate, not ditch, their surplus plastic bag stock sustainably.

Together, Great Plastic Rescue and Sendle have helped SMEs caught off guard by the ban, to register and send their excess single-use shopping bags for free until 31 August 2022.

Round two of the rescue mission has been confirmed by Great Plastic Rescue, which will be operating from mid-October to mid-November, with cutlery items, banned as of 1 November, also accepted. 

The ambitious “plastic rescue” is made possible through an innovative partnership approach by Great Plastic Rescue which provides all businesses with one (or a few thousand boxes) alternate and sustainable ‘disposal’ option for their clean, unused and banned excess stock.

Announced as an official NSW EPA Sustainability Partner by the NSW Minister of Environment the Hon. James Griffin earlier this month, Great Plastic Rescue is helping businesses across the state to redirect their recyclable stock from the skip to their Sydney HQ for sorting, testing and reprocessing.

Voyce acknowledged that while the ban ensures a more sustainable future with fewer plastic bags polluting our pristine environment, it presents a short-term dilemma for businesses left holding surplus stock and ‘useful’ recyclable materials inadvertently ending up in landfills.

“Our partnership with Sendle enables Great Plastic Rescue heroes across NSW to participate in the voluntary campaign at, or near, cost-neutral – making it a triple win for the environment” Voyce said. 

“By gathering unused, recyclable single-use items we can ensure they’re recycled and remanufactured into high-value products right here in Australia with our partners, reducing the need for carbon-intensive, virgin plastics.”

Local cafés packaged up obsolete stock and donated it to the Queensland Rescue mission which collected about 3 million banned items for sorting and reprocessing. Image: Great Plastic Rescue.
Local cafés packaged up obsolete stock and donated it to the Queensland Rescue mission which collected about 3 million banned items for sorting and reprocessing.
Image: Great Plastic Rescue.

Sendle managing director, Laura Hill said, "We're excited to be a part of this initiative to help small businesses across NSW to reduce the amount of plastic ending up in landfill. This new initiative builds on our longstanding commitment to support small businesses and reduce our impact on the environment."

On the Great Plastic Rescue initiative and partnership with Sendle, Clean Up Australia chair Pip Kiernan said, “Bans on problematic single-use plastics are really good news for the environment, and we need to make sure any excess stock has a new life, rather than ending up in landfill.

"We applaud the work of the Great Plastic Rescue in finding a solution. We need to support a circular economy, where everything is a resource, and there is no such thing as waste.”

The original Great Plastic Rescue was the brain-child of entrepreneurs Amy Cobb and Bronwyn Voyce who identified that there was no sustainable end-of-life solution for obsolete single-use plastic items affected by the Queensland Government’s ban last September 2021.

Crusaders Cobb and Voyce merged their super powers to conjure up an ambitious mission to save the banned single-use plastics from being dumped in landfill, by offering a solution to have them reprocessed by local recyclers.

The dynamic duo quickly responded by building and launching the OG Great Plastic Rescue statewide, which was fully funded by REOLS (Redefining End Of Life Solution), an innovative new circular economy start-up.

"We are incredibly proud to deliver The Great Plastic Rescue in New South Wales in partnership with such amazing collaborators, including the NSW Environment Protection Authority. Our Queensland mission, spearheaded by REOLS, enabled us to turn a bold idea into tangible impact. Together with our rescue heroes we recycled 1,940kg – approximately 3 million single-use plastic items – originally destined for the dump. We’re confident that together with the NSW community and our legendary collaborators we can make an even bigger impact in 2022," said Voyce.

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