Childhood hobby wins Impact innovation award

impact innovation award
Impact Community Services manager Tim Van Kooten won an innovation award for his design on this hopper at Bundaberg Regional Council's recycling centre.

A childhood hobby sparked the idea that has seen Impact Community Services take out a state innovation award through the Containers for Change program.

The Container Exchange Change Maker innovation award was presented to Impact for improvements made to the region’s recycling centre, which the organisation operates on behalf of Bundaberg Regional Council.

To avoid costly renovations to the facility to incorporate the Containers for Change scheme, manager Tim Van Kooten created a machine that mimicked the model airplanes he built as a child.

“We had one hopper designed for outside that gravity feeds on to a conveyor belt in to the shed on to the baler,” Tim said.

“Unfortunately the other baler was situated where there was an emergency walkway so we couldn’t get it in there.

“So we came up with the idea of putting a blower and blowing the product through a large metal tube and up and over the emergency walkway and down in to the baler.

“That design we came up with from many years ago as a kid I had model aircraft and they had a part on the motor called the venturi that sucked air in to the motor.

“So we made a venturi.”

Even Tim wasn’t sure if the concept would work.

“Nervous moments to turn it on first,” he laughed.

“I didn’t know if it would work or not, but it works a treat.”

Now manufacturers throughout Australia are looking at taking the concept on board.

“We’ve given them the idea, so they’ll make it and put it in other factories.”

Impact innovation award presented by Container Exchange

He said the innovation award was presented by Container Exchange as part of its one year anniversary of operation in Queensland.

“The innovation one was a big one.

“We were pretty stoked to have got it.

“They’re the company that run the whole container refund program.”

Tim said the facility was always looking at innovative ways to tackle recycling and already had some other initiatives in the pipeline.