Plastic waste in Cardiff has been transformed into benches

Plastic waste from the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Cardiff has been collected, recycled and transformed into benches.

The Volvo Ocean Race is a 45,000 mile stretch across the world. At this event using plastic is almost unavoidable. This year, they decided to work with RPC bpi Recycling, the largest recycler of polythene in Europe, to highlight the creative and business potential of recycling plastic.

At the Cardiff stopover they collected 1000kg of plastic and enlisted the help of a local factory to recycle it. The heavy-duty ‘plaswood’ benches they produced make perfect outdoor seating.

Sian Miles, General Manager of the factory, said: “We are turning a product that could end up in landfill into something that’s useful to a range of industries contributing to the development of a circular economy.”

The Volvo Ocean Race has pledged to be sustainable in a number of ways including calculating the carbon footprint of the whole race and reducing the use of single-use plastics and straws.

Annie Middleton, Environment Officer for Cardiff Harbour Authority, said that the “plastic film is so light and we get strong winds in the harbour area and it can get blown into the sea and create issues in the marine environment.” Currently, around 12 million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans each year.

Wales has been named as the best region in the UK for recycling. To ensure this continues, Hannah Blythyn, Minister for Environment in the Welsh Government, has approved £7.5 million to help local authorities continue to improve recycling services.

Meegan Jones, Sustainability Programme Manager at Volvo Ocean Race, highlighted the importance of replicating the idea for other events. She said: “While we have taken this special focus on soft focus plastic collection and recycling, the problem is that very few events give this material the same attention and tonnes of soft plastic will be heading to landfill from event sites every day.”

News published on Climate Action Programme
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