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Materials Human Effort

103: Drainage socks for plastic waste recuperation

Problem:

For years, many towns all over Australia have been battling with waste such as plastic containers, bottles, paper and vegetation discharged into the city’s waterways by stormwater drains.

Solution:

The drainage sock.


In Kwinana, a town of 40,000 inhabitants, just south of Perth in Western Australia, they considered a drainage sock as developed in the early 1990s by a fisherman based in New South Wales, then acquired by the South Australian-based Urban Asset Solutions.

The 35 in. (90 cm) wide black polyethylene sock has of a stainless-steel sleeve extension and is cleverly designed to pull shut like a drawstring bag when full.

In March 2018, Mayor Carol Adams and Kwinana Council installed two Ecosol Net Tech drainage socks over stormwater drains in the local Henley Reserve. Later, by removing them full of plastic waste and pollutants, they effectively eliminated the risk of flooding during peak-flow storms, particularly in areas where road drainage is discharged into public open spaces and wetland reserves.

During the trial, 815 lbs (370 kg) of debris consisting of food wrappers, plastic bottles, sand and tree leaves was cleaned out of the nets, the plastic sent off for recycling.

While three more locations were identified as suitable drainage points for further nets to be installed following the trial’s success, images posted by the Kwinana Council on social media went viral worldwide, scoring over 25 million views and obtaining enquiries from New Zealand, the USA, Chile, Brazil, many European countries, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Zambia and China.

Meanwhile, the neighbouring City of Cockburn has become the first West Australian council to build a new road out of recycled plastic. About 40,000 single use plastic bags collected by supermarkets across Australia were melted into an asphalt mix used to pave a laneway in Port Coogee.

What you can do: Tell your town or village hall about the Kwinana drainage sock.

Discover Solution 104: Drones on the farm.

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