SA Oyster Basket Recycling Feasibility Study released
The EPA has been working collaboratively with the South Australian Oyster Growers Association (SAOGA), in conjunction with Regional Development Australia Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula (RDAWEP) and the Department for Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy (DMITRE), to undertake a feasibility study into recycling plastic oyster baskets.
The aim of the SA Oyster Basket Recycling Feasibility Study was to 'identify cost-effective oyster basket recycling options that will value add to the efficient operation of the industry as a whole'.
The oyster industry uses 2.5 million baskets annually. Each year about 5–10%, or 150–200 tonnes, of these plastic baskets reach their end of life and must be disposed. Instead of sending the baskets to landfill, many oyster growers have been stockpiling them on their properties until more environmentally sustainable disposal by recycling option becomes available. It is estimated that this stockpile is currently 1,300–1,500 tonnes.
The feasibility study was officially released at an oyster industry information day held in Port Lincoln on 7 February. The session provided an opportunity for attendees to discuss the recommendations of the report and consider the next steps to progress a recycling option for this waste stream.
An important recommendation from the study was for industry to collaborate and tender out its disposal requirements in order to obtain the best price for recycling disposal and minimise its potential disposal management risks. At the information day, the industry association agreed to seek expressions of interest for a market-based response for a suitable and cost-effective way to recycle oyster baskets.
The oyster industry is the second largest aquaculture industry in South Australia. It produces up to 100 million oysters annually, contributing more than $100 million to gross state product, and creating jobs for more than 1,000 people.
The EPA’s pleased to be working collaboratively with the SA oyster industry to identify recycling opportunities for waste plastic oyster infrastructure and have been impressed with the proactive approach that the industry has taken. We will continue to assist the industry to implement the recommendations of the feasibility study.