Resource Recovery wins important award

Resource Recovery in conjunction with Great Lakes Council have won the 2011 Local Government Innovation in Waste Award at the annual Waste 2011 conference. The Award is supported by the Waste Management Association Australia and the Local Government Association of NSW and Shires Association.

The Award was won for Resource Recovery’s commitment to those who are socially disadvantaged, long term unemployed and creating employment for the indigenous community. Re-source Recovery will always strive to help those less fortunate in the community to better themselves by creating opportunities and mentoring those individuals through the process of becom-ing valuable members of the community.

This is a great achievement, not only for Resource Recovery but for what we all do in the not-for-profit sector.
CRNA interviewed Craig Rees, Manager of Resource Recovery which is located on the north coast of NSW.

Describe the model how Resource Recovery is funded.
Resource Recovery bids for contracts with other commercial waste organisations and through experience and local knowledge we are able to be very competitive in the tender process. We also offer waste solutions in our tender submissions, things like, reprocessing gas bottles, Non Ferrous – Ferrous value adding, reprocessed materials (Concrete & Mulch).

15 % of income would be from grants the rest is made from commercial works.

What makes it successful?
Resource Recovery is run as any other business would run with one eye on the budget and another on opportunities to expand. We understand that there are underlying issues within communi-ty and family units that deter those that are socially disadvan-taged in the community from working. Through setting very basic goals in the first six months of employment, we have found that we can change the reliance on the welfare system and help turn those that didn’t want to work into key members of our organi-sation.

I am ex Army so I am a great believer in rewarding our people with training. This builds self esteem and worth within the working unit. Not just meaningless training either, but finding out what stimulates the individual and cater the training accordingly. It is like working with un-worked clay, with some work you will have the best employee you could ever hope for and this obviously has a positive effect on productivity.

What is your annual turnover from sales?
We achieve $500,000 per year from sales.

How many full time/part time paid employees do you have?
We have 14 full time and six casual.

How many tonnes do you reuse/recycle annually?
The best way to answer this is this landfill was expected to have reached end of life 2 years ago and still has approx 7-10yrs left.

What is your carbon footprint for the project?
I am one whom looks at the carbon footprint issue in a different light. If you utilise best practice and design the active cells and layout of the Waste Management Centre in such a way to mini-mise plant and vehicle movement, but achieving the appropriate outcomes, then no matter what the percentage is you have re-duced our footprint on the environment. We have also installed solar panels and are installing rain water tanks.

Why did you win the award?
We won the award because we understand the opportunities the waste industry can provide in achieving our end goals of helping the socially disadvantaged, long term unemployed, ex-offenders, indigenous members of our community and those with drug and alcohol problems. We have been able to achieve these goals by still servicing our contractual obligations and not being a burden on Council but an asset that can be turned to solving waste prob-lems. Eg. Gas bottles are decanted, the valves removed and we have made a press that punctures two holes in them so they can be sold as ferrous metal, 240lt bins were being burnt out at the skate parks and football ovals so we made a steel bin out of dumped shopping trolleys, We also make bin stands and recycling stands, because of living so close to the ocean we obvious-ly have a corrosion problem so we designed a simple bin stand that will save Council over time.

We remove the rims out of tyres and on sell to the trailer manufacturers. These are only a snippet of the services we provide. This innovation has helped us to win the award.

Major criteria?
“Demonstrate innovation in how you have dealt with waste.”

What training are you providing?
Our staff must complete a minimum Cert II Asset Maintenance (Waste Management) to become a permanent member of staff, they also undertake OH&S General Induction, First Aid, Customer Service Training, Forklift, Wheeled Loader, Skid Steer Loader, Ex-cavator, Chemsmart, Asbestos awareness, Chainsaw, Heavy Rigid Truck and Literacy and Numeracy training. These are the basics for an employee at Resource Recovery. We then have sent guys off to become trainers and assessors. We have two full time trainers on staff and we have agreements with TAFE to train most of the above.

How are the trainees benefitting?
We are working with people that haven’t had jobs or probably couldn’t get jobs elsewhere and they have been through the train-ing cycle that the Job Agencies puts them through with no end in site. We find out what stimulates the individual and tailor a train-ing plan for them, as well as adding responsibility on the way. This builds self esteem and worth in the work unit and a bloody good employee at the end of the process. We can’t train for trainings sake and I believe that is a problem with the Government pro-grams today.

What is your organisation’s main motivating factor in doing what you do?
Great Lakes Community Resources inc our mother company has been running for 20 years and we had a dream and that was to help those in the community that needed a go.

We now have over 90 staff and are the biggest employer of indigenous people in our area. Our Not For Profit organisation engages the com-munity and listens to what is needed and acts within financial con-straints.

-Community Recycling Network Australia, June 2011

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