GLADSTONE Ports Corporation is taking part in a recycling initiative to prevent used hard hats from going to landfill.
GPC said Australian regulations require hard hats to be disposed of every three years, and with 750 employees, the port has opted to recycle the headgear to give it a second life.
The port has been collecting the hard hats since March this year to send to recycling company TerraCycle.
GPC said TerraCycle then melts the plastic down and turns the hard hats into pellets that can be made into new products such as park benches and garden hedging.
GPC CEO Craig Haymes said more than 60 hard hats have been saved from landfill since the port engaged with the recycling initiative.
“Hard hats are an unavoidable waste for many organisations like GPC because of the safety requirement associated with the protection,” Mr Haymes said.
“They need to be replaced every three years as the quality of helmets deteriorate over time especially if they are in direct sunlight for long periods which can cause them to eventually shatter,” he said.
“We’re home to more than 750 employees who will all wear a hard hat at some point so recycling our hard hats is the best way to manage our waste instead of throwing them out.”
Mr Haymes said other organisations should consider recycling hard hats to feed into the circular economy and minimise impacts from operations.
“Gladstone is home to some big industries, many of which use hard hats in their everyday work so it would be fantastic to see all hardhats being turned into something else after they reach their expiry date,” Mr Haymes said.
“Our environment team were able to investigate a great solution for our hard hat waste and we’re really proud to be one of the first businesses in Gladstone to be recycling hard hats and hope it raises awareness and helps companies look at waste differently.”