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Working with plastic

Eastern Shore resident Tash Lowe set up her business, Plasticus Tasmania, with the goal of decreasing plastic waste and creating striking pieces out of recycled material.

“We think of plastic as cheap but it doesn’t have to be. It has a beautiful sheen to it and can be a really nice feature in a home,” Ms Lowe said.

Ms Lowe set up Plasticus Tasmania with the help of open source designs from Precious Plastics, a global recycling movement based in the Netherlands.

Her first large source of plastic waste was from Dark Mofo and shortly after people collecting ‘lids for kids’ started messaging her on Facebook.

After a bit of experimentation, Ms Lowe realised that if she wanted to offer a standardised product, she needed to commit to a few big purchases, like a proper aluminium mould and a custom shredder.

She designed the mould herself, had it laser cut by engineers, sourced parts for the shredder and found a second-hand kitchen oven.

After months of work with the help of her uncle, her dad and an electrician friend the shredder was built.

Ms Lowe sorts and washes plastic by hand and shreds it before she puts it in the sandwich press which gives a nice even mix of colours.

The molten plastic is then put into a mould to form and set.

At the 2024 Sustainable Living Festival in Launceston, Ms Lowe showcased her plant pots, vessels and clocks to the public for the first time and was a finalist in the Tasmanian Sustainable Business and Community Awards.

“I’m learning as I go. My work isn’t yet food grade but I’m aiming towards it,” Ms Lowe said.

Tash only accepts type two, four and five plastics as indicated by a recycling symbol somewhere on the item.

“If they’re not marked I can’t use them,” Ms Lowe said.

“All plastics release chemicals when heated to a particular temperature and these temperatures differ. I can’t risk breathing in the toxins.”

Ms Lowe currently has two drop-off points for plastic at the Glenorchy Recycling opposite the tip shop and ‘Just for Lids’ at the Warrane/Mornington Neighbourhood Centre.

She is currently only collecting HDPE ( type 2) plastic right now due to overwhelming demand.

She is working on getting two more drop off’s up and running.

Tash Lowe has been chosen by Clarence Climate Action as its Climate Champion for June.

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About the Author: Simon Andrews

Simon is a passionate journalist and finds joy in uncovering and sharing locally resonant stories, immersing himself in the hearts of communities. He can often be spotted out and about sourcing grassroots news for the Hobart Observer and its sister papers.

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