The dictionary tells us that a bollard is a short, vertical post, originally meant for use on a ship or quay. Well, the simple bollard has come a long way since then! These days, they are everywhere, fulfilling a wide range of uses.
Early bollards were made of wood, progressing to metal later on. But when you consider there must be millions of bollards throughout the world, that’s a big demand on our limited natural resources. Luckily, there is a solution.
These days, smart councils and landowners are installing bollards made from recycled plastic.
Whichever way you look at it, this has to be a winner! For starters, it’s turning rubbish into something functional, and keeping tonnes of plastic out of our landfill sites. It’s also reducing the huge demand on natural resources, of course.
But there’s another reason councils and other municipal bodies like using recycled plastic bollards – and that’s the big cost savings in paint and maintenance.
Available in a variety of configurations and colours, recycled plastic bollards are robust and will not split, rot, crack, or ever need painting.
The leading supplier of recycled plastic bollards in Australia is probably Replas, a company that has been making recycled plastic products for more than 20 years.
They discovered that recycled plastic bollards were an excellent alternative to timber, providing rigid, resistant barriers to define boundaries or deter vehicle or pedestrian access. The bollards can be used as stand-alone fixtures, or they can be linked via chain to define a boundary.
An increasing number of councils and other public bodies throughout Australia are now using recycled plastic bollard installation – and one of the most popular is the Brolga bollard.
The Brolga bollard is named after the official bird emblem of Queensland, so it’s no surprise Queensland councils love them! Tall and slender like the bird, these bollards are particularly well suited to environmentally-sensitive areas, such as wetland and the coast.
Virtually maintenance-free, they come in a variety of colours and, although very strong, are quite light to transport.
Fraser Coast Regional Council in Queensland started using recycled plastic bollards in 2013, after the Mary River area flooded. Previously they were using a mix of timber, composite and recycled plastic. When the flood waters subsided, Council discovered that the timber and composite bollards had cracked and split, but not the recycled plastic. They have now replaced all their bollards with recycled plastic.
Bollard installation is a great solution to many challenges. Naturally, it’s ideal when you need to keep people and/or vehicles out of certain areas, or mark boundaries. But they can also be a deterrent.
Keep out vandals
For example, Hawkesbury Sports Council installed the bollards in Bligh Park to (successfully) deter vandals. The park had had a problem with vandals for years, with them driving across the oval and damaging the grass. Bollard installation marked the end of that problem!
Recycled plastic bollards are also very useful for pedestrian safety in parking areas. It’s amazing that although cars are travelling at slow speeds in a car park, so many accidents still occur. The reason for this is generally distraction, either by the driver or the pedestrian. For example, if a driver is looking for a space in a busy car park, they may not notice a child step out from between parked cars. And if Mum is trying to carry shopping and herd kids back to the car, she might not notice a reversing vehicle.
It’s easily done and the results can be devastating.
Bollard installation – especially coloured bollards – not only define boundaries but, if the worst was to happen, the vehicle would hit the bollards rather than pedestrians.
And it’s not just pedestrians they protect! Sydney City Council installed bollards at a storage depot to stop trucks regularly backing into the bins!
And in Bundaberg in Queensland, they came in pretty handy for protecting kangaroos! The council used Replas recycled plastic bollards to create a special fence to stop vehicles driving into the sensitive ecological park areas, while still allowing easy access for the kangaroos.
We’ve mentioned bollard installation in environmentally-sensitive areas previously, and another similar use is in public gardens or botanic gardens.
Often there are areas that have been revegetated, or perhaps are home to some rare plants, but ordinary fencing or wire would detract from the beautiful surroundings. Bollard installation is a good alternative.
Not only is it possible, using recycled plastic, to create slim, elegant bollards, but linked together by chain or pipe, they will keep people off the area without creating an eyesore.
Bollard installation is also an excellent way to signpost certain things. Because of the nature of the materials used, the bollards can be recessed to accept signs, plaques and logos. That’s just a few of the many modifications possible with recycled plastic, as opposed to metal bollards.
Sometimes, bollard installation needs to be removable, to allow access at certain times of year, or for maintenance vehicles. And the answer to that is simple, too. Bollard sleeves.
These can be square or round, fixed or hinged, to allow easy access to an area when needed.
Of course, there’s another reason why recycled plastic bollard installation is such a great idea. And that’s the huge amount of plastic waste it removes from our landfill sites. It’s amazing to think that unwanted rubbish can be turned into such good-looking and useful items.
Take that pretty Brolga bollard, for example. Each bollard is equivalent to 3500 plastic bags – that’s 3500 plastic bags that would end up in landfill. You could say a company like Replas was saving the environment, one bollard at a time!
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