When Council’s Supervisor of Waste Collection Services Tony Noffke got a message at 1pm yesterday, he had no idea of the chain of events it would lead to.
A retired couple from Bargara had phoned Council, distraught that they had put their old phone book in the recycling bin and, after it was collected, realised that $500 had been put in it “for safe keeping”.
“I told the lady ‘I will try to retrieve your money but I quickly need your phone number as the load has been emptied and I need to go over to see Tim at the recycle plant and find out if the load has been processed or not’,” Tony said.
“The lady gave me her number and I raced over to the recycle plant and identified it was still on conveyor belt 2 and told Tim the belt number.
“Tim said he would get staff to take all phone books off the belt before it went into the trommel and would ring me when done.
“I went back to my Council office and rang the lady at 1.10pm.
“She answered and I told her she will have to wait for the process at the recycle plant.
They thought they would just have to move on
“She said ‘ok thanks' but she had convinced herself that they had lost the money and would just have to move on and I told her I would ring soon as I knew something.”
At 2.15pm Tony had a text message from Tim with a photo of the money.
“I was elated,” Tony said.
“I rang the lady’s number but her husband answered so I told him the money had been found and was ready for pick up.
“At first he was silent then said ‘thank you, we thought it was gone’. His wife was in the back ground yelling ‘thank you, thank you’.
Australian Disability Enterprises Manager at Impact, Tim Van Kooten, said Impact mobilised the team as soon as they got the message.
“Luckily it was a small load and, even luckier, it hadn’t been processed,” Tim said.
“There was quite a collection of phone books, which we then shook and, lo and behold, the money fell out,” Tim said.
“It was lucky we could get it before it went into the trommel.
“If it had got into the machine, which is like a giant clothes drier, it would have been mixed with other paper and compacted and we would never have been able to retrieve it.
The couple came into the recycling centre yesterday afternoon and were very appreciative of getting their money back.
“Our boys were very proud that we could help out,” Tim said.
- More recycling centre news