During National Recycling Week we take a look inside the region’s recycling centre and meet the Impact Community Services disability workers who hand sort recyclable material.
The facility receives 2000 garbage truck loads of recycling each year, equating to about 7000 tonnes worth of rubbish.
Facility manager Tim Van Kooten said Impact was an Australian Disability Enterprise employer and currently had more than 20 staff.
“They just love it,” Tim said.
“They take lots of pride.
“A lot of the workers, I have to force them to have holidays they just don’t want to go off work for any reason!”
The team sorts all materials placed in the region’s yellow-lidded wheelie bins by hand.
“Most of our manufacturers like our product because it’s hand sorted and it’s a cleaner product than an automatic sort facility.
“We can command higher prices for our milk bottles and mixed plastics because of that.”
But it does come with it’s drawbacks, also meaning the workers must sift through anything placed in the bins that isn’t recyclable.
Of the 7000 tonnes of material that comes in, Tim said about 2500 tonnes went to landfill.
Tony Norton has worked at the facility for seven years and said when he was working “on the line” he had to be careful to avoid dirty nappies and needles when hand sorting the recyclable material.
“Needles, nappies, all that kind of thing all goes to waste really they shouldn’t be putting that in recycling,” Tony said.
“Be more aware of what goes in our recycling because you’re hurting the environment.”
He said the more people who recycle, and recycle well, the more work there would be at the facility.
“For all the disability people give more opportunities for us to keep working and doing what we’re doing.”
Claytin Matthews said he’d been looking for work for five years before being offered a position at the recycling centre.