Preparing local produce for packaging just got easier for Endeavour Foundation employees thanks to an industrial vacuum cleaner provided with support from Bundaberg Regional Council.
The Endeavour Foundation Bundaberg employs more than 70 locals with intellectual disabilities who assist with a long-standing partnership with major supermarkets to clean and package potatoes and onions for local retailers.
The industrial vacuum cleaner, purchased with the help of a Bundaberg Regional Council community grant, is being used to clean the factory floor of dirt and waste from the fresh produce.
Delivered straight from farms, fresh produce is offloaded from a truck and into Endeavour Foundation’s processing factory covered in soil and mud.
Employees then brush the potatoes and de-husk the onions, to prepare them for packaging.
At the end of the day, a layer of silt covers the factory floor.
The new industrial grade vacuum cleaner has given employees more time to spend on other tasks.
Endeavour Foundation Bundaberg Production Manager Mark Elliott said when the vacuum cleaner arrived, it caught everyone’s attention.
“It’s shiny, stainless steel and weighs as much as a fully grown man,” said Mr Elliott.
“It sort of looks like R2D2 from Star Wars, but it’s making a huge difference to our clean-up operation and our supported employees really love it because of that.
“The job used to be done with big brooms and it was a challenging manual job to clean up, not to mention quite dusty.
“Our employees take pride in packaging and distributing fresh produce for Bundaberg locals, but the clean-up was always the last job anyone wanted to do – well, not anymore!”
Mr Elliott said the service had put its best foot forward to dispose the dirt and peel from the potatoes and onions in a sustainable way, making sure nothing is wasted.
“We spread the finer dust around the paddock and the rest in the huge worm farm we’re cultivating,” he said.
“The worms seem to love the onion peels, so nothing is wasted because it all becomes compost.
“The introduction of the vacuum cleaner has put a big tick in the safety and sustainability box for Endeavour Foundation.”
The industrial vacuum cleaner was purchased from a specialist retailer in Melbourne, with the grant from Bundaberg Regional Council covering 90 percent of the cost, while Endeavour Foundation contributed the rest.
Endeavour Foundation Supported Employee Mark Sibley has been working there for 23 years and is one of those trained to use the industrial vacuum cleaner.
“It does the job, but it’s not the quietest thing,” Mr Sibley said.
“You know when it’s clean up time!”
When asked about the shiny new toy, he said “it works like a charm, worth its weight in gold.”
A true statement to the 70-kilogram vacuum cleaner that has capacity to collect 67 litres of dry and wet solids.
Endeavour Foundation Business Solutions – Bundaberg employs more than 70 locals with intellectual disability across a range of roles including food packing, general packing, confidential document destruction and general warehouse work.
Businesses with a social conscience looking to partner with Endeavour Foundation should call 1800 112 112 or go to endeavour.com.au.