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“Overwhelming” support for plastic lid recycling project at Taree

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5th May, 2024

A hospital scientist says she was blown away by the support shown for her project aimed at keeping plastic bottle lids out of landfill.

In mid-2023, Sci­en­tif­ic Offi­cer at NSW Health Pathology’s Taree lab­o­ra­to­ry San­dra Hay­don decid­ed she want­ed to do some­thing for the environment.

“It’s dis­heart­en­ing to see how much plas­tic waste goes to land­fill,” she said.

“I’d heard of schools par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Lids4Kids recy­cling project and I want­ed to give it a go at my workplace.”

Boxes of different coloured plastic bottle lids.
Some of the sort­ed lids col­lect­ed for the Lids4Kids charity.

Lids4Kids Aus­tralia is a nation­al char­i­ty based in Can­ber­ra that began in 2019, aimed at cre­at­ing an option for recy­cling plas­tic bot­tle lids that would oth­er­wise end up in landfill.

Its founder, Tim Miller, dis­cov­ered a Vic­to­ri­an not-for-prof­it organ­i­sa­tion that was turn­ing plas­tic bot­tle lids into mobil­i­ty aids for chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties. His call out for sup­port was so suc­cess­ful, he had to find oth­er uses for the lids, such as cre­at­ing recy­cled plas­tic benches.

Since Lids4Kids began, it has saved more than 98 mil­lion lids from end­ing up in landfill.

San­dra Hay­don said get­ting the sup­port from her lab man­ag­er to start the lid col­lec­tion project was key.

“It enabled me to gain approval from hos­pi­tal exec­u­tives to insti­gate this project, and I have to say I was flab­ber­gast­ed by the response I received.

“It was won­der­ful to see so many peo­ple work­ing at Man­ning Hos­pi­tal keen to par­tic­i­pate in this small project to reduce the amount of plas­tic waste going to landfill.”

After 8 months of col­lect­ing thou­sands of lids, San­dra has cleaned, sort­ed and pack­aged up the last batch of lids for the char­i­ty in Canberra.

She said she was unable to keep the col­lec­tion going due to a change in circumstances.

But she’s encour­ag­ing any­one with an idea for a sus­tain­abil­i­ty project in their work­place not to be afraid to get started.

“If you believe in a project, just give it a go,” she said.

“Reach out to oth­ers for advice and sup­port. Some­times, get­ting a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive can help you find a new solu­tion to each hur­dle you face.

“I’d espe­cial­ly like to thank all the staff at Man­ning Hos­pi­tal for drop­ping off your lids to pathol­o­gy over the past 8 months. The response was incredible.”

A woman putting plastic bottle lids into a large recycling container.
San­dra spent eight months col­lect­ing, wash­ing, sort­ing and pack­ag­ing the bot­tle lids.



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