Sunday, November 2, 2008

James Porteous ECOS magazine

Managing Editor
ECOS: Australia's magazine on sustainability

from Don Matthews
Oct 29, 2008
Environmental concerns re spent poly tanks

To: James Porteous (editor EOS)
From: Don Matthews (gardener)

Dear James,

I would like to try and arouse your interest in a potential environmental problem which is beginning to bother me..

It concerns the rapidly increasing number of plastic poly tanks being added to the environment and the issue of their disposal at the end of their working life. Personally, I feel we should be trying to reduce the amount of plastic entering the environment not increasing it. As this is not likely to change in the foreseeable future we must ensure that what poly tanks are added can be recycled at the end of their working life, yes?

Ask anyone in the business of manufacturing or selling poly tanks and they will tell you without fail they can be recycled. The industry's ARMA (Association of Rotatational Moulders Australasia) website says " Can poly tanks be recycled? Yes, they can be completely recycled". Most Australians would accept this as being correct and so feel environmentally comfortable about purchasing a poly tank. Unfortunately, this appears to be far from the truth. I believe the industry have no idea how UV-degraded (spent) tanks are going to be recycled.

Over the past months I have been directing questions to various sections of the industry to find out what they would tell an environmentally concerned member of the public about recycling spent poly tanks. The results have been interesting and have all been documented on the weblog . I then followed this up with further questions and asked for evidence to back up their claims. The result? - one big deafening silence. Their recycling claims appear to be simply marketing tools to take advantage of the current water crisis and make us all feel environmentally comfortable with poly tanks.

For the moment I am just asking questions and recording results on the weblog. Next year I would like to see a national awareness campaign launched to raise this issue with the Australian public. It needs to be brought out into the open for discussion and debate. The industry is just burying their head in the sand and while no-one asks questions they will continue to sell their tanks and perpetrate what I believe is misleading information about recycling.. In the not-too-distant-future millions of spent tanks will be lying around. If the recycling issue is not resolved I can see us heading for a major environmental pollution problem.

I am looking for people to join an environmental action group APTCIG (Australian Poly Tank Concerned Individuals Group) to take the matter further. The industry, ARMA and its CEO Leisa Donlan will not take any notice of one individual calling for the issue to be addressed and misleading statements to be removed from industry websites.

If you are new to the weblog start at the first post in July "The journey begins". This will explain how it all started, then work your way up the posts and discover the positive efforts being made by the industry to fulfill ARMA's statement "Can poly tanks be recycled? Yes, they can be completely recycled".

Feel free to pass this email on to anyone you feel may be interested in being put on a mailing list for updates on progress.


Don Matthews

"You are on the money. Congratulations - and how can I help?" (Don Burke)


to me
Oct 29

Hello Don,

Thanks for your email, and congratulations on your working through of this issue to do with poly tanks. Thanks also for alerting me to it.

Based on your correspondence here (and pending more investigation and a right of reply from the tank 'recyclers' themselves), I think it very important that this be raised as a matter of integrity - and a clear illustration that, despite seeming stated intentions, there are still clear (premeditated?) mistakes being made where environmental responsibilities are being agreed on. If your evidence holds true, it also shows up a gaping hole in Federal and state government processes for assessing the environmental suitability of product classes, and of assess the onus on manufactures to take responsibility for their end of life circumstances. It is no doubt quite easy to calculate the sorts of plastic volumes we are talking about here.

I would be very happy to give you the opportunity to write this up in Ecos, to support your cause, and to provide a platform for national further elucidation about this issue. We could aim for the Feb-March issue (copy due in December). You would be paid for your work. How does that sound?



Managing Editor
ECOS: Australia's magazine on sustainability
PO Box 1139 Collingwood VIC 3066
Ph +61 (0)3 9662 7604 Fax +61 (0)3 9866 7600


Don Matthews
to James.Porteous

Hello James,

Thankyou for your reply. You have certainly given me something to think about now! I have been happily plodding away by myself emailing the industry from my comfortable little cocoon. Now you have given me the opportunity to go public and do what I really want to see happen. It's the next big jump and certainly what APTCIG is looking for. Yes, you will probably have some copy in December (when is deadline?) but I will have to adjust to this......



Australian Poly Tank Concerned Individuals Group


from ""
Nov 5, 2008 4:07 PM
RE: Reply from Simon Gough Gough Plastics
signed-by mailed-by

Thanks Don.

Best of luck with the continuing investigations - I think with this type of enquiry you'll need to use a fair degree of diplomacy given the types of questions involved.

I would prefer not to be copied in on all the developments if you don't mind - I have enough coming in as it is. It would be best if you can run the investigations under your campaign, and then get back to me at the end once you have the picture painted. At that point we can then work out what to cover in the article.

By all means get in touch if I can be of help with anything specific to do with communications.

Thanks, and, again best of luck with it.

James Porteous

Managing Editor

ECOS: Australia's magazine on sustainability

Following information received

From: Louise Berecic []
Sent: Wednesday, 5 November 2008 4:33 PM
Subject: Nylex water tank media release

Please find attached media materials which may be of interest to you and your readers. With regulations being introduced at all levels of government and across peak industry bodies, it is important to ensure manufacturers of water tanks comply with local and international standards and do not give false impressions.

Nylex is one of the first in Australia to be granted two internationally recognised standards, tangible evidence of their commitment to quality, continuous improvement and customer satisfaction.

Please contact myself, Anna Shortt or Erica Plompen on the number below for further information.

Kind regards,

Louise Berecic.

Office Manager

Polarity Consultants

45 Dove Street

Richmond, VIC 3121

Tel: 03 9429 7166


Download the original attachment

For Immediate release 6 November 2008

Nylex sites manufacturing polyethylene water storage tanks are one of the first in Australia to have been granted two individual globally-recognised standards, testimony to Nylex’s commitment to meet and maintain world standards for quality, continuous improvement and customer satisfaction.

The Type Test certification to AS/NZS 4766:2006 – Polyethylene storage tanks for water and chemicals, and accreditation to the ISO9001:2000 – Quality management systems requirements standard were issued for Nylex sites in Pakenham, Seaford, Ingleburn, Crestmead and Bundaberg.

Mr Stephen Perry, Business Development Manager for Nylex VIC said the accreditation was tangible proof that their tanks met world best standards and not just an arbitrary claim.

“Consumers should look for the relevant licence number on the tank, that is issued when the tank of their choice has undergone the rigorous testing process and achieved the global industry benchmark,” Mr Perry said.

“Nylex wanted to provide this assurance for its consumers given the renewed focus on the increasing role of water tanks in water conservation, evidenced by recent political and environmental debates.

“Storing water and other chemicals needs to be done in a conscientious manner and this accreditation will give architects and designers, builders and developers and plumbers the confidence to use our products easily, safely and for the long term.

“In addition, they are ideal for anyone anticipating potential policy changes by government and local councils who may decide to include the standards as part of any rebate scheme.”

Achieving the internationally-recognised standards requires great fortitude and commitment by companies who undergo the rigorous testing procedures.

“Accreditation means that we have had our products tested to provide the surety of a reliable and dependable final product,” Mr Perry said.

“That includes the initial design of size, wall and floor thicknesses and holding capacity to confirm structural soundness right through to the quality of materials and fittings used.

“They have also been tested to ensure they are suitable for their intended purposes by looking at the workmanship employed to ensure our products are free of any faults and down to whether they have used the appropriate materials.”

Nylex polyethylene water storages are UV stabilised to provide maximum protection against harmful UV rays and excludes sunlight to prevent algae growth.

Nylex maintains the quality of its products by testing each and every tank it manufactures.

“Every tank is verified using ultrasonic measurements to ensure we continue to meet the standards set out in our licence,” Mr Perry said.

“We take a sample out, keep it, refrigerate it and then impact test it at negative 40 degrees to ensure excellent strength and superior crack resistance.”

-end copy-

For further information:

Anneliese Shortt

Polarity Consultants

03 9429 7166

Photo caption: Nylex water tanks are among the world’s best with the recent granting of two internationally recognised accreditation standards.


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