The Pacific Collective: Combating Plastic Waste in our Waterways

The Pacific Collective

ETC Spotlight on Business

The pollution of our oceans is of serious concern to many worldwide, but for one inspirational Coffs local the devastation of our beaches and waterways was something she could no longer allow to continue.

Louise Hardman, innovator of turning waste into resources and winner of the 2017 Startup Coffs Coast, is focused on inspiring communities around the world with her simple solution to combating plastic waste in our waterways.

With the introduction of her brainchild, The Pacific Collective and her weapon against waste, the ‘Shruder’ machine, Louise educates others on the Chemistry of Plastics, the process of shredding, extruding and repurposing plastics into new items. “The aim of The Pacific Collective is to provide tools, equipment, machines and educational programs which will transform waste plastic into ‘recycling income’ for communities.”

Louise and her small specialist team, are rolling out the Shruder Program for small groups to enable them to effectively deal with plastic waste within their communities. Their unique resource being the 6 Step Training Program consisting of hands-on workshops teaching the essential steps required to establish a micro-business in remoulding waste plastics, using the Pacific Collective’s simple machines and tools.

With her dedication to achieving plastic free oceans and creating healthy communities, Louise continues to inspire and educate both young and old alike.

Louise oversees the building of a ‘Shruder’ machine
Louise oversees the building of a ‘Shruder’ machine.

ETC caught up with Louise to ask how her initiative is progressing.

Louise, tell us about the pivotal moment that inspired/motivated you to launch your business?

There were two major moments that pivoted me into starting my business, the first was witnessing a young marine turtle die from numerous pieces of plastics that it had eaten in the sea grass. The second was talking to a young girl in Thailand after she threw a bag of rubbish into her local river in the forest- she was simply doing what she was taught.

Describe your feelings when you were announced winner of the 2017 Startup Coffs Coast

Relief and excitement – it felt like I had made it to the top of the first hill and could see into the distance to where I wanted to get to.

What keeps you inspired/motivated?

Collective Effervescence- which is the energy that comes from a group of people when they work together for a common cause, it is incredibly powerful and motivating

Tell us about key challenges you have faced

Mostly working on my own in the beginning, and surviving the first year with minimal income and getting through the research and development phase.

Was there one particular breakthrough that got you to where you are today?

Not really one breakthrough, it has mostly been a series of mini breakthroughs which allow me to go the next step, but also minor setbacks that have made me more determined to keep going.

Was it hard to make the switch from being an environmental/chemistry teacher to now inspiring others in the fight against plastic waste?

Not at all, it was the most natural thing as they go hand-in-hand, I still am an environmental/ chemistry teacher working on plastic waste.  What was hard was learning about business and all that is involved, also not having a regular salary.

What advice do you have for other start-up businesses?

When you find what motivates you and comes from deep in your heart, follow that relentlessly.  You may have to adjust your methods but stick to your goal.

To follow the Pacific Collective and stay up to date on all things plastic, head on over to their Facebook page @thepacificcollective or better yet, get in contact with Louise and discover how you can do your part in keeping our waterways pristine and plastic free.


If you are interested in starting your own business ETC has various support services available.

ETC Business Services can play a critical role in helping small businesses like The Pacific Collective get established with access to a range of services, including:

  • Ongoing guidance and mentoring
  • General business advice
  • Strategic marketing plans including social media
  • Business and marketing plans
  • Budgeting
  • Training and Workshops

The team covers the Local Government Areas of Coffs Harbour, Bellingen, Nambucca, Kempsey, Port Macquarie and Taree.  Programs covered include the Australian Small Business Advisory Service, New Enterprise Incentive Scheme and the Exploring being My Own Boss initiative.

Contact the ETC Business Services team today!

  1. Hi there. I am Albert Kuma from Papua New Guinea. Am really dilited to see and hear what you have been doing to the plastic. In my country plastic waste is an eye sore. There is plastic everywhere. To be honest I have been thinking for a solution to the plastic waste. From you section I can see the answer right there. Please can you advice me on how to join your team to bring this program into my country Papua New Guinea. Thank you very much for your response.

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