When Tim Miller decided to start Lids4Kids, collecting plastic lids to support Envision Hands, little did he realise the impact it would have.
Inundated with people offering plastic lids or volunteering to collect, Mr Miller said “within 48 hours there was a network across Australia with a ‘me’ in each town that’s collecting lids.”
He said he’s “just a guy with a bucket” and had no idea Lids4Kids would take off as much as it has. In part, he attributes it to people being environmentally conscious – “plastic has been the buzzword of the last 12 months” – and the feel-good factor of Envision Hands.
Mr Miller regularly fundraises to participate in outback charity rallies. As part of his fundraising, he would collect bottles and cans to return for cash but kept the lids.
“Those lids are recyclable but in practice don’t get recycled because they are too small for the machine. It is a big waste for what is millions of lids in a year, so I googled ‘what to do with plastic lids”.
The lids are donated to Envision, based in Melbourne, for their Envision Hands project that recycles plastic bottle lids and turns them into mobility aids.
Eventually, Mr Miller would like to create box-ready shipment for Envision whereby the plastic lids have already been cleaned, sorted and granulated prior to transport.
At the start of the year, Envision had a goal to collect one million bottle tops but have already smashed this target with the number continuing to grow.
With the growing interest in their work, Envision has set up a crowd funding page to raise funds to set up the transport logistics to get the lids the community has collected back to Melbourne and upgrade their equipment.
“Whilst feeling slightly overwhelmed, we are also super excited because expanding our operations means we can make even more hands for kids in need,” an Envision spokesperson said.
It is not just mobility aids that Envision aims to make with plans to recycle the tops into disability aids, STEM training tools and aged care gadgets.