A Warrnambool man is taking action against pollution by upcycling rubbish into new products.
Nick Yandell has spent the past month creating bowls and cutting boards out of plastic litter with a homemade press.
Mr Yandell, a member of Warrnambool to Port Fairy branch of Beach Patrol, said he was shocked with the amount of plastic washing up on our coastline.
"I went for a walk on Levy's Beach the other day and you can't take a step without finding plastic, nothing much bigger than a five-cent piece but it's everywhere," he told The Standard.
"Sometimes it's a bit disheartening, you think 'how are we ever going to clean this thing up?'."
Mr Yandell said much of the plastic Beach Patrol picked up had to go into general waste bins, ultimately ending up in landfill.
"A lot of it can't go into the council recycling bin because it's bits and pieces of different sorts of plastics that they don't deal with," he said.
This comes after REDcycle's soft plastic receptacles were pulled from Coles and Woolworths stores in November last year.
The company collapsed in over $5 million of debt after it was caught secretly stockpiling thousands of tonnes of plastic waste.
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Mr Yandell said although it required a more complicated process, these plastics could still be recycled.
He recently upgraded his equipment with a shredder from Precious Plastic Malaysia, a member of the Precious Plastic movement started by Dutch industrial designer Dave Hakkens.
Mr Yandell said the project was still a work in progress but he'd found some low-tech solutions to the difficulties of working with weathered plastic.
"I'm actually finding that a lot of the plastic that comes off the beaches melts and moulds really well," he said.
"Some of it's a bit degraded after being exposed to the sand, sea and sun, but a lot of it is actually quite easy to work with."
Mr Yandell said while his products weren't yet good enough for sale, he was set on honing his skills.
"It's really just a matter of getting good at combining plastics, cleaning them and making sure they're pressing ok," he said.
"I really want to make things people will keep for a long time, I don't want to make little trinkets that they'll have for a week then throw away. Because then it just ends up back in the rubbish."
Mr Yandell said he wanted to create products that would last and become "something of a conversation piece".
"Because then it promotes that whole discussion around recycling, so even just someone having that in their home hopefully has an educational aspect to it," he said.
Mr Yandell said he wanted to start making coasters and combs with reclaimed plastic, and would run workshops to teach others in the future.
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