Community benefits for resource recovery

Article image - Community benefits for resource recovery The Resource Recovery work team, pictured with The Green's Project Manager Lisa Strudwick, RR Manager Craig Rees and Great Lakes Council's John Cavanagh.

Partnering with a community waste reduction and recycling enterprise, Resource Recovery (RR), and using staff from disadvantaged backgrounds, Great Lakes Council is now providing a unique take on building sustainable options into waste management.

The model being practiced by Resource Recovery and Great Lakes Council has been recognised with the major Australasian Award at this year's Annual Waste Conference, the "2011 Local Government Innovation in Waste Award."

The Waste Management Association of Australia and the Local Government and Shires Association of NSW also support the award.

Manager of Waste, Health and Regulatory Services John Cavanagh said the award recognises the innovative way the partnership allows for socially disengaged people in the community to be purposely employed in resource recovery and sustainability, while helping to preserve the beautiful Great Lakes environment.

Resource Recovery was developed in 1991 by the Great Lakes Community Resources and Council has contracted the enterprise to manage Council landfills and waste transfer stations at Tuncurry, Tea Gardens and Bulahdelah since that time.

At the Tuncurry Waste Management Centre, Resource Recovery prepares and maintains the landfill area and manages the recycling of steel, oil, green waste, concrete rubble, bric a brac, batteries and poisons, cardboard collection, a confidential shredding service and truck and excavator hire.

Resource Recovery also manages Council's animal pound facility and operates a registered public weighbridge at Tuncurry.

Resource Recovery Manager Craig Rees said new enterprises of deconstruction, bush regeneration and landscaping services and firewood sales have been introduced.

"And 200 visitors per day visit Resource Recovery's thriving 'Green Shop' where cleaned, repaired items are on sold to the public," he said.

"The new Green Shop allows for expanded repair and construction of cubby houses for sale and the repair of old motors."

"Almost all of RR's 20 staff are sourced from 'disadvantaged' community groups including offenders and ex-offenders, early school leavers and those with low literacy or numeracy skills.

"In addition, 25 Community Service Order participants were mentored at RR this year.

"Employees also gain tickets and licences to operate heavy machinery, language, literacy and numeracy support, Occupational Health Safety General Induction and First Aid certificates."