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40 Under 40

Disrupting the waste cycle is good business

40 Under 40

Ryan Lokan won the 40 Under 40 Inspiring Disruptor Award this year for his work in transforming his family’s recycling business into a leading designer and manufacturer of sustainable materials.

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Lokan has faced many challenges since APR Composites started in 2004.

“Being a family business, recycling plastic in SA and trying to manufacture a timber alternative nationally has had its fair share of barriers, setbacks and costs, but I am proud that we are still here,” the 38-year-old said.

Darren Peisley, head of Loyalty at OTR, said the company picked Lokan for the Inspiring Disruptor Award because of how the business had grown and flourished under Lokan’s leadership, and his dedication to his team.

“We loved it that APR composites, a 19-year-old South Australian family business is innovating so strongly with a deliberate approach to their business growth and operations,” Peisley said.

Lokan said APR Composites is a leading Australian designer and manufacturer of sustainable composite products for a wide range of industries within both local and international markets.

“Working with all the recycled plastic materials found in a typical yellow recycling bin, it’s a sustainable alternative to cutting down old-growth forests,” he said.

“Our sales team is more focused on educating clients on the benefits of using recycled materials than simply just selling their products.”

Lokan is also particularly proud of his work in making an impact on South Australia’s water storage, and the effect his company is having on our natural landscape.

“Looking at new projects to consume waste plastic daily is a rollercoaster, but knowing every win is more waste out of the environment, it’s a good reason to keep on going,” he said.

Lokan said he gets inquiries daily from community groups wanting to use their products for garden beds, seating and bollards.

“Tonnes of our off-spec product is donated to projects and causes like this. It’s a way to make a difference to community projects while at the same time minimising forests being cut down,” he said.

He said the best piece of business advice he has been given is “if it was easy, everyone would be doing it,” and he lives by the motto “don’t ask someone to do something you are not prepared to do yourself.”

The recycling industry leader now joins the 200 alumni of South Australia’s 40 Under 40, a leadership network that is gaining influence across the state.

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