Timberlink is set to build Tasmania’s first Bio Composite plant after a grant to support the project was recently announced by Federal Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley, Tasmanian Minister for Environment Roger Jaensch and Member for Bass Bridget Archer MP. Announced on July 6, the grant was awarded from the Tasmanian Recycling Modernisation Fund (Plastics) Grants Program (RMF).
The Bio Composite plant is a first for Tasmania and Australia and is expected to produce Wood Plastic Composite (WPC) products that will upcycle plastic waste and plantation timber mill residues, producing decking and screening for commercial and residential applications. The new technology will also enable Timberlink to manufacture a wide range of WPC products over time.
The Timberlink Wood Plastic Composite Plant intends to source the recycled HDPE (a type of plastic) for the core of the product from Tasmania, utilising existing industry capability and ensuring that the feedstock for this plant, where possible, is a Tasmanian on-island solution. This will significantly enhance the circular economy in Tasmania and generate economic value to Tasmania as these products will be sold in Tasmania and the mainland.
At full production the project will divert HDPE plastic from landfill at an equivalent to an approximate 83 per cent increase over current HDPE recycled in Tasmania based on FY19 levels, according to EGM Sales, Marketing and Corporate Affairs, David Oliver.
With the project capital cost at $12 million, the Federal and State Government have agreed to co-invest in this project with a $5.8 million grant to create this new industry in Tasmania.
The project is shovel ready and will commence immediately with Timberlink intending to have the project completed and in production by December 2022.
“The project significantly enhances Australia’s Sovereign Capability to manufacture this type of product in the most environmentally friendly way,” Mr Oliver said.
Federal Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said, “the project will help to protect the environment, boost the economy and create jobs. The recent announcement is another example of government working together with industry in Tasmania to deliver transformational change.”
Minister Jaensch also said that, “the partnership, through the RMF, will help Tasmanian businesses invest in new, ground-breaking ideas and technologies that will turn waste into new resources and products, creating local jobs and helping to build a circular economy in Tasmania.”
Bridget Archer MP also said that Timberlink is a significant employer in the George Town area and contributes more than $150 million to the local economy.
“I have long been supportive of the work Timberlink does and am thrilled they have been successful in receiving an RMF grant. The grant is not only great news for the environment, it also provides a boost for Timberlink and our community through the creation of more jobs,” Ms Archer said.
The energy to power the plant will be sourced from Tasmanian Hydro Power and a solar farm located on the roof of the new facility. Rainwater tanks will be installed to harvest rainwater which will be used for cooling in the manufacturing process.