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Our History

Resource Recovery (Waste Management and Recycling) was established in response to two issues: the clear need for more environmentally sound management in the area of waste, and a need for more diverse employment opportunities in the local area. Here is some of our story.


Successful tender to operate new tip.

Great Lakes Skillshare*, local not-for-profit organisation, successfully tendered to Great Lakes Council for operation of the Tuncurry tip.

The community?s waste management services at that time consisted of one site with one man on a tractor, pushing all the community?s unsorted waste into one large hole.

Ours was one of only two tenders proposing establishment of recycling facilities at the site. This was originally funded as an Enterprise Development Project. The scheme was based on an award winning design implemented by Armidale Council in conjunction with the Challenge Foundation. The plan was to be a first for NSW, with processing and reselling of paper, cardboard, glass, scrap metal, aluminium, PET plastic, mulching materials, garden refuse, used building materials and bric-a-brac all in one facility.

* Later to be renamed Great Lakes Community Resources (formerly Community Youth Support Scheme-CYSS)


Official opening of Tuncurry Waste Management & Recycling Centre, Tea Gardens Landfill and Bulahdelah Landfill.

Work commenced on the reclaimed site, under Skillshare Recycling Depot project managers Rae Wilkins then Kevin Carroll. Resource Recovery's current Tuncurry Depot was the original Resource Recovery operation. In May 1991, the shed housing the materials recovery centre, itself recycled from an automotive workshop, was erected on site by staff and volunteers. On 15 June 1991, Resource Recovery opened its doors to the Great Lakes public.

Resource Recovery commenced operation of the Council Landfills in Tea Gardens and Bulahdelah, and the Waste Management and Recycling Centre in Tuncurry at this time.

Our 'Tip Shop' was one of the first on the Mid North Coast!

Council assisted financially, through donation of the site, shed, materials and labour.


Outstanding results - $45,000 under budget and 45% less landfill.

By 1992, the tip operation was proving to be very cost effective. Total operating costs for the tip were under budget by more than $45,000, significantly less than the previous year's costs. The filling rate at the tip had been reduced by 45%, considerably extending the life of the tip. In the month of June alone, Council's recycling of bric-a-brac had returned $6,000 - money for the local economy which would otherwise have been buried as landfill.


Win contract with Greater Taree City Council - 30 more jobs.

Targeting male long-term disadvantaged unemployed, this enterprise, including landfill management and recycling operation was further enhanced in 1994 when the Greater Taree City Council tender was won.

The additional business provided employment and skills development for 30 unemployed people. Resource Recovery was responsible for kerbside collection, transportation, sorting and recycling of 70 - 80 tonnes of Taree recyclables per week.


Cited as Best Practice in "Green Jobs" report.

In 1994, Resource Recovery was cited as 'best practice' in the Green Jobs Report (produced by the ACTU and the Australian Conservation Foundation). The Macleay Report (1994), produced in Kempsey and designed to give some direction to waste management in the region, cited Resource Recovery as 'the most successful model in the study'.


Taree and Forster Council Contracts renewed and improved.

In 1999, contracts in waste management and recycling were renewed and enhanced with local government in Taree and Forster, further enabling employment and skills development opportunities for the Association's target groups.

  2003 - 2004

Taree Council Kerbside Collection contract ends - 19 jobs lost.

On Wednesday 26 November, 2003, Greater Taree City Council decided to go to an automated MGB system of comingled collection. This meant that fortnightly kerbside collection of the 'wheelie bin' system was introduced, replacing the black plastic crate of sorted recyclables with a new 240 litre green mobile bin for all recyclables.

Unfortunately, the change to an automated system, while it would create some additional casual employment in Tuncurry, meant that there would be a loss of 19 jobs in Taree.

While Resource Recovery understood the automated system to be a little cheaper, the kerbside sort system Resource Recovery was using in fact collected more clean and uncontaminated recyclables, so they could be on-sold. Resource Recovery had hoped that the Greater Taree City Council would have stayed with the kerbside sort system because of the increased employment and increased recycling however this was not so and in February 2004 Resource Recovery surrendered the contract with Greater Taree City Council.

From 2004, recyclables are being transported by another Tuncurry based business to Tuncurry tip for sorting at their MRF (Materials Recycling Facility).


Community Service Orders partnership established at Resource Recovery.

Official partnership began for supervision of people undertaking Community Service Orders with Dept of Corrective Services. This program has proven highly successful within RR. One young boy undertook 200hours of community service hours then joined staff as a 12 month trainee (Asset Maintenance / Waste Management) and went on to complete a university degree.


Successful tenders for Bulahdelah and Tea Gardens Solid Waste Landfills.

Successfully tendered for contracts for the site management at both the Bulahdelah Solid Waste Landfill and the Tea Gardens Solid Waste Landfill. Both contracts were extended to current day.


Successful tender for Great Lakes Council Dog and Cat Pound.

Successfully tendered for Great Lakes Dog and Cat Pound. This has been renewed until current day.


Resource Recovery Park concept was funded.

NSW Department of Families and Community Services provided three year funding to create The Green Community Project. The Green engaged 90 volunteers to create an inviting, experiential, eco-living showcase. This included a propagation shed, waterwise permaculture gardens, a wetland pond area, a community pizza oven and chickens. Monthly pizza oven parties and community workshops were held. Several accredited training programs were completed, offering CII and III in Conservation and Land Management and CII in Construction to the Association?s target groups.

Click here to view Focus Magazine's article on Resource Recovery Park.


Launch of Indigenous Bush Regeneration team.

First contracted jobs were with local National Parks and Wildlife Service and Great Lakes Council.

Click here for more information on the team.


GreenBikes program established.

Three boys from the Juvenile Justice program and three volunteers from The Green formed the first 8-week GreenBikes mentoring program.

Click here for more information on the GreenBikes program.



Winners - Australasian Local Government Innovation in Waste Award, WMAA and LGA-NSW

Click here to view local media of the award.


National Profile

National Profile - Top three Community Recycling Enterprises in Australia ? A baseline study of Australia?s community recycling enterprises

Click here to view report.


Resource Recovery Australia Consultancy & Coaching Service funded

The Resource Recovery Australia consultancy and coaching service was selected as one of only two applicants funded nationally by Westpac Foundation. This funding, over a three year period allowed Resource Recovery to document and share their community recycling enterprise model nationally.

Click here to view local media of the news.


Resource Recovery Park 25-year Master Plan approved

The 25-year Master Plan was developed by Great Lakes Council in consultation with Resource Recovery Great Lakes.

Click here to view the Master Plan.


Wallis Lake Men's Shed relocates

Wallis Lake Men's Shed relocates to Resource Recovery Great Lakes.

Click here for article on the relocation.



Winners - Social Enterprise of the Year Award and Winners - Social Procurement Supporter of the Year Award, with Great Lakes Council.

Click here to view local media of the award.


Awarded two NSW Environment Protection Authority, Industrial Ecology Projects

One for the North Coast of NSW, and one for the South East of NSW. Resource Recovery Australia's Industrial Ecology teams work with businesses across each region to establish business to business waste solutions and diversion from landfill.

Click here for more information on the funding.