17.6 C
Byron Shire
May 18, 2022

RAT upcycling available in Mullum

Latest News

Entertainment in the Byron Shire for the week beginning 18 May, 2022

Brilliant entertainment always in the Byron Shire

Other News

Spaghetti kids benefit from community support

If you haven’t heard of Spaghetti Circus, then you’re just not a local – and like many locals, the circus has suffered on many levels because of recent flood events.

Farm tours, tastings and horse riding – confusion over State agritourism SEPP

A lengthy debate took place at the last Tweed Shire Council planning meeting (5 May) around the issue of...

All smiles at Ballina pre-poll

People were queued out the door at the pre-poll booth in Ballina Indoor Sports Centre yesterday, with brightly dressed volunteers and AEC officials offering assistance to voters.

Primex 2022 postponed due to floods and weather

The Primex 2022 Sustainable Farming and Primary Industries Expo due to take place 19 to 21 May has been postponed following both the recent flooding and predicted adverse weather conditions. 

Editorial – E-con-oh-my

If there’s one thing that the LNP lays claim to, above all else, it is the assertion that they are the better managers of the economy. But what does this bold claim actually mean?

One from the Heart bringing people together

With a lineup including Grinspoon, Lime Cordiale, Paul and Dan Kelly, Sheppard, Jon Stevens and Daryl Braithwaite, Lismore's One from the Heart concert went ahead yesterday in patchy weather and mud, mud and more mud.

Sasha Mainsbridge from Mullum Cares. Photo supplied

Most of us have been far more concerned about how to get hold of rapid antigen tests (RATs) over the past few months than what happens to the plastic testing kits after use.

But a local not-for-profit, Mullum Cares, is now exploring the possibility of safely upcycling the plastic from RAT testing cassettes rather than condemning it to landfill for the next 1,000 years.

The organisation has launched a pilot RAT recycling project as part of its Salvage Culture initiative.

It is asking locals to store their used RAT testing cassettes in a clean glass jar with a lid, and then deliver them to a special collection point at the Mullum Library of Stuff during its hours of operation (see below).

The tests will then be carefully decontaminated before proceeding to the upcycling phase. 

‘50,000,000-plus RAT kits are destined to go straight to landfill in Australia alone’, the founder and president of Mullum Cares, Sasha Mainsbridge, said.

‘The mask pollution was bad enough, but this is top-quality plastic that should not be wasted in landfill. 

‘The time and effort that go into making products for human consumption should be respected by all who benefit from their creation, taking responsibility to maximise the use of products and the materials they are made from’.

Mullum Cares is currently trying to figure out what type of plastic is used in the testing cassettes, so that they will know what the options for reuse are.

At the same time, they are meeting with local partners to collect, transport, decontaminate, and shred the hard plastic, so it can then be moulded into something useful.  

The organisation is hoping this will prove that upcycling the devices is not only achievable but beneficial, and that it will inspire a national approach.

‘We advocate for extended producer responsibility in the form of a collection-bin program where every place you buy a RAT has a collection bin,’ Ms Mainsbridge says.

‘If you purchase them online, you must be supplied with a postage-paid reply satchel. Sound scary?  

‘Why shouldn’t it be the responsibility of the maker and seller to manage the end-of-life materials?  

‘Why do our councils just have to suck it up and accept another problematic product destined for the landfills they are dictated to manage by the state governments?’

Whose responsibility

Ms Mainsbridge says that this type of extended producer responsibility system should be implemented for all problem waste streams, especially those that include toxins that are likely to leach one day into our underground water reserves.

Mullum cares also collects other types of plastic for upcycling as part of the Salvage Culture Project, including bread ties, milk-bottle lids, and old credit cards.

Locals are asked to bring these plastics to the Mullum Library of Stuff, located at the Mullumbimby Scout Hall, during the following hours: Tuesdays 8–10am, Thursdays 4–6pm, and Saturdays 9–11am.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. How can these tests be considered a bio hazard, when just about every plastic bottle or carton has back wash in it too? there is no difference what so ever.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Sculpture distilled at Husk

The inaugural outdoor exhibition, Sculpture Distilled, opens this week at Husk Farm Distillery and promises the opportunity to get up close and personal with...

Local rum

  Lord Byron Distillery is located right in the Byron Arts & Industry Estate, making it super-easy to visit the distillery if you’re in Byron....

New hinterland whiskey

Winding Road Distillery is based in Tintenbar, and early next week they are due to release their first single malt whiskey, initially to members...

‘Dining in the Dark’ at Forest, Byron

To celebrate the North Coast Festival of Flavour, Forest restaurant is turning off the lights so you can turn up your senses, and let...