Recycling machine used to help keep Tybee beaches clean

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 5:19 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - The organization named “Fight Dirty Tybee” and a local Tybee restaurant teamed up to purchase a machine that they hope will cut back on how much plastic gets sent to the landfill.

“I think it does feel good to know that your materials at least aren’t going to landfill or are becoming something that’ll fund future beach cleanups and maybe be around for a very long time,” Tim Arnold said.

Arnold is a Tybee Clean Beach volunteer. His goal is to educate the community about plastics and upcycling.

“When you start to try to take raw material and turn it into something else you realize that recycling is a really tough thing to do,” Arnold said.

So, that’s when Salt Island Fish & Beer co-owner Emily Liebtag stepped in to help. The restaurant collected about $5,000 to pay for this 3-in-1 Upcycle machine.

“We wanted to look at the needs around Tybee, see where we can improve things and make life for Tybee residents and our tourists a little bit better,” Liebtag said.

Now, people like Arnold and Liebtag can continue raising awareness about litter by using this machine in demonstrations to the public.

“It’s clearly not the answer for the amount of plastic we’re generating, but it does really provide a good educational experience,” Arnold said.

The machine was customized and sent here from an organization in Malaysia. It shreds the plastic into tiny pieces that can be melted down and poured into molds to make things like coasters and planters.

It takes about 30 seconds for the machine to shred a dozen pieces of plastic. All you have to do is drop it down into the shoot and hit go.

All year long, Fight Dirty Tybee hosts beach clean-ups. Oftentimes volunteers walk off the beach with buckets full of trash.

Arnold says the machine only grinds down #2 and #5 plastics, but luckily common items they pick up off the beach like straws and bottle caps fall in that category.

“Yogurt cups, take out containers, bottle caps, straws, those are all made of #5 polypropylene,” Arnold said. Arnold says they will continue to collect source material from residents to use as well.

“We’re seeing everyone be able to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Everyone worked really hard,” Liebtag said.

Copyright 2021 WTOC. All rights reserved.